NEW DELHI: Thibault Cuny, managing director and chief executive, Pernod Ricard South Asia, including India, will step down from his role on health grounds, the company said in a statement. Cuny has been dealing with health concerns over the past couple of years and his decision to take a break from his professional duties is based on medical advice.The French alcohol company sells Blenders Pride, Royal Stag, Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet and Absolut vodka in India.Thibault took over the role in 2019 after serving in the company’s Brazil office in the capacity of president and CEO. He has been with the group in various leadership roles for almost two decades While he will continue to be employed at Pernod Ricard, the company said, it has begun the process to identify someone to head India. In the interim, Philippe Guettat, chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard Asia will hold charge of the region, it said in a statement. Guettat said, “Thibault has been steering the company through one of its most significant transformation journeys over the last four years. Despite turbulent times during the pandemic, and challenges owing to his health condition, the company in India has witnessed robust growth and steady progress in many critical areas. It disheartens us to see such a strong transformational leader stepping away from a role that he assumed with great passion. We pray for his speedy recovery.”Earlier this month, Reuters had reported that the Indian government had demanded $244 million from the company’s local unit Pernod Ricard India for undervaluing concentrate imports for over a decade to avoid full payment of duties. The company and the government have differing views on the methodology used to calculate customs duty on imported alcohol. India’s alcoholic beverages market had a size of $52.5 billion in 2020 and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% between 2020 and 2023, according to the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).
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