Kannan Sitaram Venture Partner, Fireside Ventures

Over a 30+ year career, Kannan has traversed the breadth of the consumer products industry in India and overseas, worked across functions such as sales, marketing, global strategy and investing, and held strong leadership roles as national head of sales for a $1 Billion business with a staff strength of over 5000 and as business head of a $400 Mn business. His experiences include acquisitions, business restructuring, strategy development, go to market strategy development and execution, brand development, new product launches, communication development, supply chain management, people recruitment, talent development and business planning and delivery.

He started his career in 1981 as a management trainee at Ponds India Limited, a listed company, where he held several roles such as Brand Manager, Regional Manager- East, Marketing Manager and National Sales Head. Consequent to Unilever’s acquisition of Pond’s, he led the integration of the Hindustan Lever and Ponds sales and distribution functions. He then transferred to Hindustan Lever in 1993, first as National Sales Head Personal Products and then as National Sales Head of the $1 Billion Soaps and Detergents business. He then moved to the Foods business as Head of Marketing for the Beverages business. In 2002, he transferred to the Unilever Head Office in London as Vice President Corporate Strategy where he worked with the Unilever Executive Committee to develop the global Unilever strategy.

In 2006, Kannan left Hindustan Lever to join Dabur India Limited first as Executive Director and then as Chief Operating Officer, responsible for all the consumer businesses of Dabur in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. He led the successful acquisition and integration of Balsara and Fem, which added substantially to Dabur’s presence in Oral Care and Skin Care. He left Dabur in 2010 to join India Equity Partners as an Operating Partner. He helped IEP acquire a controlling interest in Innovative Foods Ltd, a leading frozen foods player. He continued to work with IEP to prospect for transactions in the FMCG space while in parallel serving as the CEO of IFL. In 2016, he created an exit for IEP from IFL to Peepul Capital. Upon Peepul’s request, Kannan stayed on as full time CEO of IFL to manage the transition. He came on board at Fireside as Venture Partner in September 2017, to pursue his passion of building iconic consumer brands.

Kannan is a Mechanical Engineer from IIT, Madras and the gold medallist of his batch from IIM, Ahmedabad. He has attended executive programs at Carnegie Mellon University and Kellogg School of Business at North Western University.