Day after Sodhi quit, minister Panchal calls it ‘routine process’

A day after RS Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), stepped down, Gujarat Minister of State for Cooperation Jagdish Panchal on Wednesday called it part of a “routine process”.

“It is a routine process. At present, there is no probe or inquiry ordered against him,” Panchal told The Indian Express when asked if there was anything amiss that had caused GCMMF to seek his resignation during a board meeting held on Tuesday.

Monday’s sudden change of guard at the GCMMF, known by its brand name Amul, caused intense speculation given the tone of the letter addessed to Sodhi, signed by GCMMF chairman Shamal Patel and vice-chairman Valamji Humbal.  “The board has resolved that you end your services as the managing director of the federation with immediate effect. Thus you should leave the charge as MD with immediate effect,” the letter stated.

On Wednesday, Jayen Mehta, who was the chief operating officer of the federation, took charge as the interim managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) at Anand, a day after his predecessor Sodhi stepped down from the post.

Like Sodhi, Mehta who joined GCMMF in 1991, too, is an alumni of the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA). A gold medalist in Bachelor of Business Administration (Marketing), Mehta took charge as MD of Amul Dairy in 2018 when the incumbent chairman K Rathnam resigned citing personal reasons.

Rathnam who was MD of the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers Union Limited (KDCMPUL), popularly known as Amul Dairy — one of the 18 dairy unions of GCMMF, is now CEO of Milky Mist Dairy in Coimbatore.

Amul Dairy then put out a statement on the resignation and the appointment of Mehta as the incharge MD of Amul Dairy. However, in the case of Sodhi, there is no official word so far from GCMMF.

The chairman and vice-chairman of GCMMF could not be reached despite multiple attempts.
Mehta is also a member of the standing committee of International Dairy Federation (IDF). During his tenure at the GCMMF, he worked across multiple functional areas and led strategic initiatives in the domain of information technology, digitisation, exports, advertising, brand building, new product launch and total quality management.

During his long career, Mehta functioned as brand manager of Amulya Dairy Whitener and Amulspray Infant Milk Food. He was also in charge of Dhara edible oils and Safal fruit drinks — brands of NDDB that were distributed by GCMMF — from 1995 to 2000.

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