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Bajekal Steps Down As FMF Group Managing Director, Sanjay Punja Steps Up As New CEO

Ram Bajekal has described his tenure with FMF Group as most rewarding. Mr Bajekal, who has been with the FMF Group for the past 12 years, will be stepping down
18 Feb 2021 09:30
Bajekal Steps Down As FMF Group Managing Director, Sanjay Punja Steps Up As New CEO
From left: Newly appointed FMF Foods Group of Companies, chief executive officer Sanjay Punja, FMF Foods Group outgoing managing director Ram Bajekal, Blue Gas managing director Ajai Punja, executive director FMF Foods Group of Companies Rohit Punja on November 19, 2020. Mr Rohit Punja has also been the general manager and director of Hari Punja and Sons Limited. Photo: Maraia Vula

Ram Bajekal has described his tenure with FMF Group as most rewarding.

Mr Bajekal, who has been with the FMF Group for the past 12 years, will be stepping down from his position as Managing Director of FMF Foods Limited from March 27.

He started as the Group Chief Executive Officer in 2009 and became Managing Director in 2015.

He will also step down from the two FMF Group subsidiaries, the Rice Company of Fiji Limited and Atlantic & Pacific Packaging Company Limited on March 27.

 

New CEO
Sanjay Punja, who is presently Director on the Board of FMF Foods Ltd, would be assuming the additional role of chief executive officer of FMF Group with effect from March 28.

“The incoming CEO Sanjay Punja preceded me for 17 years before he went on his sabbatical,” Mr Bajekal said.

“He is extremely well versed in managing the group and really needs no hand-holding.”

Mr Bajekal says he was certain Mr Punja and the team would take FMF to greater heights in coming years.

 

Mr Bajekal’s Experience
“My time at FMF has been most rewarding.

“I was blessed with a great team of workmates, a conducive work environment, a very well recognised brand and most of all, a great mentor in the form of Mr Hari Punja our Chairman who along with other Board members was always available when I needed his guidance.

“The support I received from our customers, vendors, service providers, business associates, Government Authorities, the media and every Fijian I came across (without exception!) made my work and life at FMF very enjoyable.

“The fact that our team’s efforts translated into great results for the group over these years made it even more worthwhile.”

In terms of leaving behind a legacy at FMF Group, Mr Bajekal said: “I firmly believe that a good manager is one whose presence makes a positive difference while his/her absence is not felt; therefore, the true test of my legacy, if any, will only be in the days to come.

“That said, I feel I am leaving behind a team of well-knit high-performing individuals who have come together over time and made FMF what it is today.”

 

Highlights
Mr Bajekal noted the three highlights of his time in Fiji as:
– My marriage to Ameeta in Suva in 2010 and living in Fiji with her has to top the list;
– Watching Fiji win the Sevens Gold in Rio; and
– My being able to resume sports that I had stopped playing nearly 40 years ago.

“My wife Ameeta and I are both from South India, having lived most of our adult life there till we came to Fiji in 2009.

“Ameeta has worked with the Taj Group of Hotels which operates over a 100 hotels and resorts in 17 countries and also with IBM the technology giant for whose Australia and New Zealand units she did strategic sourcing.

“Unfortunately, her working career had to be put on hold in Fiji because her residence permit did not allow her to work.”

 

About Mr Bajekal
– Mr Bajekal, Chartered Accountant from India and a Fulbright Fellow in Management Studies from the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA.
– He was only the third Indian to receive this prestigious fellowship for management studies.
– He has spent most of his working life in India with diverse organisations such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hindusthan Photo Films, Unilever Group and the Murugappa Group; in Fiji he has worked previously with the Carpenters Group.
– After 25 years of what he calls the corporate sector ‘rat race’, Mr Bajekal took a three-year sabbatical to work in rural India with Traidcraft Exchange, a UK based NGO imparting business skills to low-income communities engaged in micro-enterprise.
– A large part of his work involved capacity building among farmer groups to help them get a fair deal in the value chain.
– He says he thoroughly enjoyed the stint for its positive impact on people – “and the fact that I didn’t have to wear a business suit !”.
– He says it was only his fondness for Fiji and the life-work balance it provides that allowed him to return to the corporate world.

 

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj


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