Shivani Hegde comes back to rescue her baby-Maggi

Shivani Hegde, who made Maggi a household name in India, is back to rescue it. As brand Maggi is going through troubled times, Nestle Global CEO Paul Bulcke has called Hegde back from Sri Lanka temporarily for damage control.

Hegde is a member of the parent company's global marketing leadership council and took over as head of Nestle in Sri Lanka four months back.

She will come to India with a mission, to re-build brand Maggi.

Economic Times reported earlier that the country's longest-serving custodian for any brand and a Nestle veteran of three decades, Hegde took Maggi through brand extensions into new categories and variants, shifted the advertising angle from taste to health and widened distribution. This made Maggi available across the country, even its remote corners, leading to a 70%-plus share of the noodle market.

Hegde is an economics graduate and holds a master's degree holder from Faculty of Management Studies.

She joined Nestle as management trainee and was elevated as managing director of Nestle's Sri Lanka business in January.

She's married to Arun Hegde, former managing director of Wrigley's, who quit the confectionery maker in 2007 to start his own consultancy.

"She made Maggi a household name and brought in a bottom-of-the pyramid connect to the brand without alienating upmarket consumers —that's been her X factor," a top executive of a food company who knows her closely but declined to be identified told ET, adding “but she remains extremely low-profile in the public space and somewhat risk averse."

On this news, Hegde didn't comment anything beyond helping out by reading a question.

Hedge is expected to meet government officials and regulators along with the parent company's executives and she will be looking to overhaul consumer engagement in print, television and social media.

“Hegde is precise about what she wants,” Emmanuel Upputuru, national creative director at ad agency Publicis in 2007-12 told ET.

Hegde could not be reached for comment. One of her rare interviews was to ET five years ago. What she told ET then helps explain why Bulcke and Nestle India CEO Etienne Benet needed to bring her back for this operation.

"Maggi has worked hard to create and grow the market in the past 25 years, and what it has achieved is not easy — it's a tough job," she'd told the financial caily in 2010. She had said that the connect with the consumer was a very strong asset that is not easy to replicate.

(Image: Indiatimes)
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