Lafarge Managing Director and CEO Uday Khanna is set to takeover as the non-executive Chairman of the board of Bata India.

“I will be taking over as the new Chairman in July,” Mr. Khanna said on the sidelines of the company's 78th annual meeting here on Tuesday.

The present chairman P. M. Sinha, who took over in 2004, has decided to move out. The company witnessed a turnaround during Mr. Sinha's tenure, but at the same time there was a sharp reduction in permanent employees at the factory and at the store level.

He said the company had decided to move aggressively in the rural market in order to achieve organic growth.

“We want to penetrate deep into the rural market, distributing our products in the new 140 Tier-II and Tier-III cities. We are also introducing 2-3 new sub-brands focussed on rural taste,” Mr. Sinha said.

A special management and sales team will be created to cater to the rural market. The company will also open 70-80 new stores to expand its footprint.

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