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INDIA: Diageo silent on India unrest

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Diageo has declined to comment on a report that the drinks giant has asked several of its mid-ranking and senior employees in India to leave the business.

The claim was made by India's Financial Express newspaper today (20 May), citing sources familiar with the situation.

The paper said that an internal inquiry into mismanagement of funds  is underway at Diageo India and is being led by an ex-detective from Scotland Yard in London. However, not all of the departures were necessarily linked to the inquiry, it added.

A spokesperson for Diageo declined to comment when contacted by just-drinks. "It is simply not appropriate to comment on personnel matters which are, understandably, always confidential," said the spokesperson.

In March this year, it emerged that Diageo India MD Asif Adil had left the company, which dominates the Scotch whisky market in India with its Johnnie Walker brand.

India's Economic Times newspaper cited Diageo sources as saying that Adil had breached the company's code of conduct.

A source familiar with the situation told just-drinks at the time that Adil's departure had been "swift" and that the situation was "under review". It is understood that both Adil and Diageo are bound to confidentiality agreements.

Adil has been replaced by Roland Abella, previously head of Diageo North Africa and Middle East.

A Diageo spokesperson told just-drinks that Adil had left to "pursue new horizons", but declined to comment further.

Diageo is in talks with India's United Spirits regarding the acquisition of a stake in the firm, which controls around two thirds of India's spirits market and is part of billionaire Vijay Mallya's UB Group.


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