RS Sodhi, one of the leading names of the Indian dairy industry, on 9 January 2023 stepped down as managing director of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF), popularly known as the Amul federation, with immediate effect.
Sodhi, who has been leading the dairy giant since 2010, has been replaced for an interim period by Amul’s chief operating officer Jayan Mehta, who has been associated with the brand for 32 years.
The decision to relieve Sodhi was taken at a hurriedly convened board meeting, media reports said. “As per resolution no.2 of the board meeting, it was proposed to end your service as the federation’s MD with immediate effect. Thus, you are hereby directed to relinquish your charge as MD with immediate effect and hand it over to federation COO, Jayenbhai Mehta,” news agency PTI reported, quoting the board’s communication to Sodhi.
After stepping down, Sodhi told the media that his term had ended two years ago and he was on an extension. He said he had requested the board to relieve him from this responsibility. “When I again requested the GCMMF board to relieve me, they finally accepted my request and relieved me today. It was my own decision to step down and I am very happy today,” Sodhi told reporters.
During Sodhi’s tenure, Amul further consolidated its undisputed top spot in the dairy segment by diversifying to new milk and dairy-based products as one of the leading players in the fast-growing Indian food industry. Business Standard reports that under Sodhi’s leadership, GCMMF’s turnover surged from Rs 9,774 crore in 2010-11 to Rs 46,481 crore (approximately US$ 5.66 billion) in 2021-2022.
In July 2022, Sodhi, who had worked under Verghese Kurien, a name synonymous with Amul, was elected as president of the Indian Dairy Association. The well-regarded and positive industry veteran will continue to hold this position in the apex body of the country’s dairy industry.
Packaging South Asia had on 15 September 2022 covered Sodhi’s address to the Elite Speciality Films & Flexible Packaging Global Summit 2022 in Mumbai, where he spoke on how pouched milk has revolutionized the Indian milk market. “The share of plastic pouched milk in the overall Indian milk market will increase to 47% by 2025 from 30% today as this is the most cost-effective way to distribute and supply the commodity,” Sodhi said in his keynote address at the event.
Speaking of Amul’s success, Sodhi said, “For the last 75 years whatever we have done, we have been consistent at it – whether it is our business objective or providing stable and remunerative prices to millions of dairy farmers. Also, we have consistently delivered our products at very affordable prices to consumers. So both producers and consumers are happy. Other reasons for our success are professionalism and technological and marketing innovations.”