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Coca-Cola India appoints Ajay Vijay Bathija as VP, Franchise Operations for Southwest Asia

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Bathija’s career with The Coca-Cola Company spans nearly 24 years and encompasses a distinct combination of marketing and franchise expertise

New Delhi: Coca-Cola India announced the appointment of Ajay Vijay Bathija, as vice president of franchise operations for Southwest Asia (SWA). Bathija’s career with The Coca-Cola Company spans nearly 24 years and encompasses a distinct combination of marketing and franchise expertise, the company announced on Wednesday.

“With his understanding of business and growth mindset, Ajay has a proven track record of taking the business to newer heights. We are hopeful that with his astute business acumen and collaborative approach he will further the organization’s purpose in the Southwest Asia region,” Sanket Ray, president, of India and Southwest Asia, said.

In 1999, Bathija embarked on his professional journey with the Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. (HCCBPL) front-line sales team and demonstrated consistent growth steadily advancing across different roles and positions within the organization. He was the region manager for the Mekong Delta Region at SabCo Vietnam, in 2005. In this role, he led sales operations and route-to-market strategies to drive volumes.

He returned to India as director of marketing for Colas and spearheaded the innovative “Share a Coke” campaign. He further introduced Coca-Cola Zero sugar for the first time in the INSWA (India and Southwest Asia) markets and was also involved in rejuvenating ThumsUp through integrated marketing campaigns, resulting in enhanced brand love, according to a media source.

As the country manager for Bangladesh from 2018-2020, Bathija worked closely with the bottling partners to bring Bangladesh among the top 3 markets in Coca-Cola TM, within The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) globally.

In 2020, he transitioned to senior director – front-line marketing, where he aligned portfolio strategies, facilitated seamless commercial and marketing execution, and launched the most celebrated musical franchise of the company, ‘Coke Studio’ in Bangladesh.

His pioneering “is cooking” Coke with meals experience platform, particularly “Kolkata is cooking,” boosted Coca-Cola TM’s brand love and consumer engagement.

Bathija has completed his masters in marketing management from NMIMS, Mumbai. He is a commerce graduate from the HR College of Commerce and Economics.

Coca-Cola in India is one of the country’s leading beverage companies, offering a range of beverage options to consumers. These include Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, ThumsUp, Charged by Thums Up, Fanta, Limca, Sprite, Maaza, and Minute Maid range of juices. The Company also offers hydration beverages including Limca Sports, Smartwater, Kinley, Dasani and Bonaqua packaged drinking water and Kinley Club Soda. Premium products constitute Schweppes and Smartwater. In addition, it offers a Costa Coffee range of tea and coffee.

The company along with its owned bottling operations and franchise bottling partners has a network of close to 4 million retail outlets across the country. It also participates in water replenishment, packaging recycling, sustainable agriculture initiatives and carbon emission reductions across its value chain.

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