NEW DELHI: Tupperware Brands Corporation has elevated its India MD Asha Gupta as group president of the Asia-Pacific region to oversee the American direct selling multinational's operations in 15 countries, including India, China, Japan and Australia. "Asha will be responsible for driving growth and expansion of the entire Asia-Pacific region," a Tupperware spokeswoman told ET. She will move to Singapore to take up her new responsibility with effect from January 1.
Puneet Narula, deputy MD and CFO at Tupperware India, will succeed her as India MD of the Florida-based food storage container and beauty products firm. Gupta, the first woman and first Indian to lead Tupperware in Asia-Pacific, joins a growing league of India-born executives holding plum global roles in multinationals. Last week, top beverages maker Coca-Cola had named Atul Singh as group president of Asia overseeing operations of 21 markets, and earlier this year, top liquor firm Diageo had named Ivan Menezes as its CEO. Gupta joined Tupperware in 1997 to head sales in south India, when it was still a start-up, and steel, not plastic, was the sacrosanct storage option in Indian kitchens.
Gupta started her career with textiles firm Coats Viyella (Madura Coats) in the threads division in the sales management function and has also worked with beverage maker Coca-Cola Middle East, where she was involved in launches of juices and energy drinks. Gupta spent three years at Tupperware Nordic, where she headed marketing of eight European countries, before returning to India in 2005 as the MD. She is Tupperware vice-president for Asia-Pacific. Tupperware is the second-largest direct selling company in India after Amway, with an all-woman sales force of over a lakh and 115 distributors. India is among Tupperware's top 10 markets and its fastest growing, having increased its sales 38% last year against just 6% in the US.
Gupta says it was the slowdown in 2008-09, when jobs were becoming scarce and the pressing need for double incomes in middle-class homes rose, that led to a distinct increase in the firm's sales force and earnings, since it worked on a model that fuelled entrepreneurship.
Tupperware's storage, preparation and serving products mostly bank on a direct selling model of home parties and social gatherings, besides contact programmes at malls and other retail venues to sell. Narula, who will succeed Gupta as Tupperware India MD, has been with the firm for seven years. Earlier, he was with GlaxoSmithKline India, the maker of milk food drinks Horlicks, for a decade in finance and business development roles.
Besides launching localised products such as masala keepers and idli makers, Tupperware's new product lines include a premium range called Ultimo, Tupper-Sure water purifiers that don't need electricity to filter water, and a baby care line.