Hindustan Unilever appoints Arun Neelakantan as Executive Director, Customer Development

Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has announced a significant change to its management committee. Effective July 1, 2024, Arun Neelakantan (43), currently the chief digital officer, will assume the role of executive director, customer development. He will succeed Kedar Lele, who is leaving to pursue an external opportunity.

Arun Neelakantan began his career with HUL in 2006 as a key account manager in Modern Trade after earning his Bachelor’s Degree from IIT Madras, a Master’s from Penn State University, and an MBA from the Indian School of Business (ISB). Throughout his tenure at HUL, Arun has consistently demonstrated strong performance, leading large teams and driving change in customer development and marketing across general trade, modern trade, customer marketing, and brand building. As regional manager of HUL’s largest branch in Chennai, Arun consistently delivered market-beating growth.

Under Arun’s leadership, the South region launched several customer development initiatives in India, leveraging deep consumer insights and market execution excellence. He has been instrumental in accelerating HUL’s digital transformation across consumer, customer, and operations ecosystems, enhancing data and digital capabilities for category and eCommerce teams.

Welcoming Arun to his new role, Rohit Jawa, CEO and managing director of HUL, stated, “Arun has a proven track record in various roles across the organization. With his deep understanding of the customer development landscape in the country, combined with his expertise in future channels and technology, I am confident he will elevate HUL Customer Development and Sales to new heights.

Rohit also expressed gratitude to Kedar for his contributions, noting, “Kedar spearheaded HUL’s entry into eCommerce. Under his leadership, our pioneering eB2B app Shikhar was scaled up, now covering over a million retailers nationwide. I would like to thank him for his significant contributions to HUL over his 20-year journey with us.


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