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Sargunar to steer UB spirits biz in South

Boby Kurian

BANGALORE, Nov. 19

LIQUOR industry veteran, Mr Philip Sargunar, is joining the UB group spirits division as Chief Operating Officer (COO).

He will steer the entire southern operations of the spirits division, which comprises McDowell & Co and Herbertsons Ltd.

He replaces Mr A.K.M. A. Shamsuddin who quit recently to join Shaw Wallace & Co (SWC) as liquor division president. Mr Sargunar joins the UB fold after serving the Chennai-based Empee Distilleries Ltd as executive director for close to two years. Prior to that, he headed SWC's beer and wine business.

Mr Sargunar is slated to join work on Wednesday and will be reporting to UB spirits division president, Mr Vijay Rekhi. An official statement in this regard is expected later. Mr Sargunar will be steering the operations of UB's spirits brands in the crucial southern markets, which has seen a tremendous spurt in low-priced products putting some frontline brands under pressure.

Mr Sargunar started his career with Herbertsons and was mainly responsible for building that company's sales and distribution network in the south through the mid- '70s. In 1983, he was inducted into McDowell & Co for a similar exercise and credited with the success of No.1 McDowell Brandy, which became the first millionaire brand in the UB fold in 1987-88.

He was later drafted into Berger Paints when it was acquired by the UB Chairman, Mr Vijay Mallya. Mr Sargunar joined SWC in 1993 and emerged to head that company's beer and wine business in the late '90s.

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