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Suman Sinha Dies: Remembering PepsiCo legend Suman Sinha, "the original cola warrior"

Suman Sinha was the second chairman of PepsiCo India. He served the company for about a decade having joined the company in 1993.

By  Storyboard18Dec 22, 2022 4:47 PM
Suman Sinha Dies: Remembering PepsiCo legend Suman Sinha, "the original cola warrior"
Known for building PepsiCo India and Indianizing the global company offering, Sinha was also known for his networking capabilities and keeping a pulse of the market. Industry remembers him as hard but people oriented manager. (Representational image via Unsplash)

PM Sinha, or Suman Sinha, as he was popularly known, was the second chairman of PepsiCo India. He served the company for about a decade having joined the company in 1993. He was responsible for consolidating the bottling business which included acquiring bottlers as well as setting up company-owned bottling plants. He helped acquire Duke’s in Mumbai and snack food company Uncle Chipps and sold the company’s tomato processing plant.

After PepsiCo, he joined Bata as Chairman in 2004; he also helped Wipro after PepsiCo.

Sinha passed away on Wednesday afternoon in Gurugram.

Known for building PepsiCo India and Indianizing the global company offering, Sinha was also known for his networking capabilities and keeping a pulse of the market. Industry remembers him as hard but people oriented manager.

Lloyd Mathias, business strategist and independent director remembers Sinha as a hard-driving, but caring and people oriented manager.

“..Suman mentored many careers many of whom went onto lead companies in India and overseas,” he writes in a LinkedIn post.

“He was the original cola warrior triggering off the cola wars in India in the nineties. After spending over two decades in Hindustan Unilever, PM Sinha, better known as ‘Suman’ Sinha took charge as Chairman & CEO PepsiCo India in 1992,” he further adds.

Mathias says that Sinha was a leader who always led from the front and never shied away from standing up for what is right.

“And boy, did he believe in ‘working the markets’, where even the minutest execution errors didn’t escape his attention. And of course telling off the teams in no uncertain terms,” Mathias shares.

Sinha started from Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL, later HUL). He was the head of government relations for several years and was instrumental in keeping the company the way it was in its shareholding.

Senior journalist and Asia editor at Central Euopean News Shantanu Guha Ray took to Twitter to remember Sinha.

“Farewell P M "Suman" Sinha, the HUL man & nephew of Jayaprakash JP Narayan, who shaped Pepsi with a $1 billion war chest. Thanks for those fascinating stories during the big bucks cola wars,” he says in a tweet.

Subroto Chattopadhyay, chairman, The Peninsula Studios who has worked at Pepsico as executive director, member executive committee South Asia between September 1999 and October 2006 expressed his gratitude towards Sinha.

“Priya Mohan (#Suman) Sinha. RIP Sir. I owe you much,” he says in a post on LinkedIn.

First Published on Dec 22, 2022 4:23 PM