by Poojitha Jayadevan

Kapil Pal joins United Breweries as Head of IT

Apr 07, 20203 mins
CareersCIOIT Leadership

Scaling safe remote working for employees in response to the COVID-19 epidemic has become his immediate priority

Kapil Pal, Head of IT functions at United Breweries
Credit: Kapil Pal

Kapil Pal has joined United Breweries (UB) as Head of IT, where his first priority is to arrange safe remote working for the company’s employees.

Pal started at UB on March 20, the day before the Indian government announced a curfew to combat the spread of COVID-19. This turned into a nationwide lockdown days later, changing working practices across the country. 

Operating out of Bangalore, Pal has taken over the role of Ramakrishnan Sudarshanam, who retired from the company last December. He will be reporting to the UB’s Group CFO, Berend Odink.

Pal was previously with LafargeHolcim, where he had recently moved to a global role. Prior to that, he spearheaded the company’s IT services for the APAC region. He had been with LafargeHolcim for 4.5 years.

Talking about his priorities at UB, Pal says his onboarding has come at a very challenging time, and hence there are quite a few expectations that need addressing immediately.

Topping the list is arranging safe remote working for employees in order to maintain operations through the lockdown. Though UB staff were already enabled to work from home, the scale at which it is happening is like never before, so there is a need for scalability along with security.

Ensuring continuity

The IT infrastructure changes imposed by the COVID-19 response will stand the company in good stead in future crises, according to Pal. 

“At LafargeHolcim, this was a norm. I handled operations across geographies — where it’s impossible to be physically present at all times. So I would manage things remotely sitting in Mumbai. At UB, I’m looking forward to initiate an anytime-anywhere working culture which would ensure continuity in any kind of situation,” he says.

Pal is quick to identify the new industry challenges that may come along. The industry requirements and go-to-market approach is quite different for UB as compared to his previous employer. Unlike most industries, where one model is set for the entire country, UB plays in a different space. The conglomerate must deal with government controls and excises, with every state having its unique set of laws.

“It’s a very different business model. So understanding this business and giving solutions accordingly will be my priority,” Pal adds.

Prior to LafargeHolcim, Pal worked at with DXC Technology (CSC), PepsiCo, Aegis (StarTek), Global Vantedge and Microland. He brings over 27 years of expertise with a thorough understanding of the FMCG domain.