Three top executives at Puma India, Abhishek Ganguly, the company’s managing director, Amit Prabhu, chief financial officer and Atul Bajaj, head of sales and operations, have resigned from the sportswear firm, to start their own athleisure brand.
Karthik Balagopalan, who has worked with Puma India and is currently based in its home market Germany, is likely to take over as the new head of Puma in India, two people aware of the development said.
Ganguly joined the Indian unit of the global footwear and apparel company at its inception in 2005 and became its MD nearly a decade later in 2014. Under him, Puma’s sales rose five-fold from Rs600 crore in 2014 to nearly Rs3000 crore last calendar year. He also drove an aggressive store expansion strategy – taking the total door count from 150 to over 480 outlets in his nine-year stint at the helm.
“Ganguly is leaving after a long stint with India. The new venture is in the athleisure space,” one of the sources told ET.
Puma India did not respond to an email query sent to them.
Over the past few years, increasing awareness about fitness and surging demand for athleisurewear have helped the segment, while the travel boom has led to people spending more on casualwear.
During the 2022 calendar year, Puma posted a 46% jump in sales in India, with its revenue touching Rs 2,980 crore, outselling rivals Adidas, Nike and Reebok combined.
In India, the brand now boasts of more than a dozen ambassadors, many beyond sports, including actor-singer Harrdy Sandhu and actor-entrepreneur Anushka Sharma.
Puma garners about 60% of its sales from footwear and the rest from apparel and accessories. Last year, it opened 69 new stores, taking its total count to 480. Amidst this, over 44% of its sales came from ecommerce.
With a population of 1.4 billion, India is one of the fastest-growing and largest international markets for sporting companies, particularly the Puma Group. The brand has increasingly been reducing its dependence on imports and investing in local manufacturing — half of its products are now designed, developed and manufactured in India, up from less than a third three years ago.