Abanti Sankaranarayanan leads the Strategy and Corporate Affairs functions at Diageo India (United Spirits Ltd), and is a member of its Executive Committee. Her responsibilities include Alcohol Policy, Regulatory & Trade matters, Market Access, Corporate Communications & Reputation and programs to address alcohol misuse, champion responsible consumption and deliver Social Impact. As head of Strategy, Abanti leads strategy development & execution for Diageo’s business in India.
Abanti has an outstanding track record of over 20 years in the consumer industry. Prior to her current role, Abanti was Managing Director, Diageo India Pvt Ltd, leading Diageo’s ambitious business mandate for international spirits in India. Under her leadership, Diageo’s brand portfolio in India delivered strong double digit growth, high market share gains and robust brand equity enhancement.
Abanti joined Diageo in June 2010 as the Marketing and Innovation Director responsible for building Diageo’s iconic global brands like Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, VAT 69 and Cîroc.
Prior to Diageo, Abanti served as a member of the Tata Administrative Service (TAS) cadre since 1992, in an illustrious career where she held key roles managing some of the best known consumer brands of the Tata Group in India, United Kingdom and the United States. In her 17 year career with the Tata group, Abanti worked across various companies such as Tata Global Beverages, London, the Taj Group of Hotels- Mumbai & New York, Tata Housing & Tata Finance in Mumbai.
Abanti serves on the CII National Committee on FMCG, is the Chairperson of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) and is a member of the board of the International Spirits & Wines Association of India (ISWAI), the industry body for domestic alcohol beverage producers in India, the Chairman of Four Seasons Wines Ltd and an Independent Director on the Board of Shoppers Stop Ltd.
Her contribution to the business have been recognized by Fortune India (The Most Powerful Women in Business; 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016), IMPACT (50 Most Influential Women in Media, Marketing and Advertising; 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017), India Today (India’s 25 Most Influential Women, 2013) and Fast Company, New York (100 Most Creative People in Business, 2012).
Abanti is an Economics Graduate from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and an MBA from Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad.