Whisky giant Diageo hires new chief financial officer

Scotch whisky and drinks giant Diageo plc announced that Nik Jhangiani will join the company as chief financial officer (CFO), taking up the position and joining Diageo’s board and executive committee in Autumn 2024. 

Diageo said Lavanya Chandrashekar will step down from the executive committee and board at the same time after three years as chief financial officer and six years with the company, and will return to the US. 

Jhangiani is currently CFO at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), the world’s largest Coca-Cola bottler with revenues of over €18 billion in 2023, a role he has held since 2016.

Diageo’s brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB and Buchanan’s whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Nik has more than 30 years of finance experience gained in roles in the UK, Europe, India, Africa and the US, including 20 years as chief financial officer; and has spent most of his career in consumer and beverage industries including 20 years within the Coca-Cola system,” said Diageo.

Prior to his current role, Nik was chief financial officer and SVP at Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) from 2013 to 2016, having joined CCE in 2012. 

“From 2009 to 2012 Nik was group chief financial officer at Bharti Enterprises, one of India’s leading business groups with operations in 21 countries and interests in telecoms, food, retail and real estate.

Lavanya Chandrashekar joined Diageo in 2018 as chief financial officer North America and was appointed chief financial officer of Diageo plc in July 2021.  

“Lavanya has been key to the delivery of a 10.5% net sales value CAGR and has been instrumental in accelerating Diageo’s productivity agenda.  

“Under Lavanya’s leadership, the business is on track to exceed its $1.5 billion three-year productivity savings target by the end of fiscal 24, and has increased long term investment in capital expenditure and maturing stock by 40%+, while creating value for shareholders by growing dividends and continuing its return of capital programme. 

“Lavanya has also put in place Diageo’s £500 million supply agility programme which will help deliver the company’s $2.0 billion productivity target from fiscal 25 to fiscal 27.”

Diageo CEO Debra Crew said: “I am delighted that Nik will be joining us. He is a highly experienced CFO with a proven global track-record of generating growth across multiple consumer businesses and industries. 

“Nik’s experience and international mindset will make him a strong addition to our leadership team. 

“I am grateful to Lavanya for her leadership over the last six years and her contribution as Diageo successfully expanded our business through a global pandemic and delivered major productivity savings. 

“I want to thank Lavanya for being a trusted colleague and partner to me, both when we worked together in North America, and more recently as I took on the role of chief executive officer. 

“On behalf of all Diageo colleagues, I wish her much future success as she returns to the US. 

“With a strong focus on execution, we will continue to invest behind our world-leading brands to create value for shareholders and maintain our position as an industry leader in total beverage alcohol, which we strongly believe is an attractive sector with a long runway for growth.” 

Diageo chair Javier Ferrán said: “I look forward to welcoming Nik to Diageo, and to the board. I am confident that his record of success as a CFO in multiple relevant markets and sectors will further strengthen our long-term track record of delivering long-term sustainable returns for our shareholders. 

“The board also wishes to thank Lavanya warmly for her strong contributions to Diageo over the past six years. 

“She has been instrumental in framing our long-term ambitions and driving a culture of operational excellence throughout her tenure, and we wish her well for the future.” 

Jhangiani said: “I am delighted to be joining Diageo. It is an organisation I have long admired and one of the world’s most respected and trusted consumer businesses. 

“I look forward to working with my new colleagues to drive value for Diageo’s shareholders, and to support the company’s strong track record of building and sustaining exceptional brands.” 

Chandrashekar said: “I am proud to have overseen a strong period of growth for Diageo, and to have embedded a culture of productivity and efficiency which will set the business up for long-term success. 

“I am very grateful to my exceptionally talented Finance, Data and Technology, and Shared Service Operations teams, and I wish Debra and all my Diageo colleagues the best for the future.” 

Jhangiani’s remuneration package will include an annual salary of £900,000 and a pension contribution — or allowance in lieu — of 14% of base salary, in line with the maximum pension contribution level for new employees to the UK workforce.

Jhangiani will also have an annual incentive plan opportunity, bonus deferral, long term incentive plan opportunity and shareholding requirement as an executive director in accordance with Diageo’s directors’ remuneration policy, as approved by shareholders. 

Further, he will also receive replacement awards in respect of the incentives which are forfeited as a result of him leaving his current employer to join Diageo in accordance with Diageo’s directors’ remuneration policy.