Devendra Chawla, or DC, as he is popularly referred to, started his career working five years each for Asian Paints and Coca Cola before joining the retail industry in 2006. He worked with Asian Paints as Branch Manager in Mumbai and Ahmedabad. His last assignment with that company was as Regional Manager for Mumbai, the largest paints market in India.
Subsequently, he joined Coca Cola, India and served the company in various capacities as General Manager with P&L responsibility for a business unit turnaround role, Director – Area Operations with P&L responsibilities for one of its largest markets in India. He was promoted to a more national role as Director – Route to Market, working with an international bottler. His assignment at that time was leading new initiatives for Coca Cola in India.
In 2006, he joined Reliance Retail as Concept Head – Super Markets, before moving on to become Vice President and Head of Merchandising & Format Marketing at Reliance Fresh.
In early 2009, he joined Future Group as Business Head – Private Brands with end-to-end responsibilities ranging from product development to launch. He was then promoted to President – Food and FMCG Category in 2011.
In June 2013, he became the CEO of Food Bazaar, managing the chain’s private label business. Then in January 2015, he was made Group President of Future Group’s food and FMCG businesses.
Always in tune with ongoing shifts in the Indian consumer landscape, Chawla believes that to survive this volatile and dynamic market place and consumers, marketers must have clarity of their goals and objectives.
“There has to be the ability to reinvent themselves and keep unlearning everything to relearn the new rules and tools of marketing. They have to stay abreast of the latest technological changes. Above all this, marketers need to have a keen understanding of their offering and a better understanding of their target audience. They have to know the pulse of the consumer and his needs,” he asserts.
Offering a case study, he adds, “Amul is now connecting with the next generation of buyers in media and forms they better relate with, such as ice cream parlours and an active engaging Facebook campaign. The methods and platforms may have changed but being constantly in touch with your target consumer and you can ensure success.”
Chawla was awarded the Most Admired Food & Grocery Retail Professional of the Year – Private Label at The Coca Cola Golden Spoon Awards at 5th Edition of FGFI 2012. Under his leadership, Big Bazaar won the Most Admired Retailer of the Year – Private Label category at the above-mentioned awards for three consecutive years.
Chawla is an engineer and an MBA. He graduated from the Harvard Business School via its “Advanced Management Program” course.