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Post $3.8bn lockdown-M&A closing, in-housers Wadhwa, Jain, Baliga fan out between GSK, HUL, Bayer

Baliga (left) moves on to head Bayer, Wadhwa, Jain split GSK legal departments (l to r)
Baliga (left) moves on to head Bayer, Wadhwa, Jain split GSK legal departments (l to r)

After the $3.8bn blockbuster acquisition of 2018 in which Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) acquired GSK India’s nutrition business, the involved legal teams have seen a major restructuring.

The mammoth acquisition completed on 1 April 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, including law firms Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and AZB & Partners as well as significant involvement from in-house.

The GSK team, in particular, has now effectively split three-way.

GSK's Baliga moves to Bayer

Devdas Baliga, a 1993 Delhi University LLB graduate and the former GSK Consumer Healthcare India subcontinent legal head (executive vice president legal), has now moved to German multinational pharma giant Bayer, as country group head legal, patents & compliance South Asia.

Baliga is an in-house veteran, with the senior roles at Coca Cola from 2007 until 2017 (see below).

Wadhwa heads up GSK Consumer Health

Baliga’s former role at GSK Consumer Healthcare has now been taken over by his former general manager legal, Kanika Shah Wadhwa, who was also director of one of the GSK entities.

Wadhwa is now heading the legal team of around three as head of legal for the Indian subcontinent, at the post-merger remaining retail vertical of GSK Consumer Healthcare.

Like Baliga, she is also a Delhi University LLB (2005 batch), and has also worked in Coca Cola’s legal team with Baliga from 2008 until 2014, but had moved to InterGlobe Aviation after that until joining GSK in 2018 (see below).

Choudhary Jain joins HUL

However, GSK’s nutrition vertical, which includes iconic brands such as Horlicks, is now part of HUL; that nutrition vertical’s legal team is headed up now by Varsha Choudhary Jain, who was also general manager legal under Baliga at GSK.

Jain’s full title is head legal nutrition, at HUL, where she and her team of three are reporting directly to HUL general counsel (GC) Dev Bajpai, who is one of the few India GCs who is also executive director on the company’s board, since 2017.

Jain is a 1997 Delhi University law grad and the longest stint in her career is her 2008 until 2016 tenure as associate vice president of legal at Amway (see below).

We have reached out to all three for comment but they declined to do so.

Devdas Baliga Work history From: Sep 2017: EVP Legal India Subcontinent, GSK Consumer Healthcare India (Gurugram) Jul 2012 - Sep 2017: Vice President Legal India, The Coca-Cola Company (Gurugram) Mar 2007 - Jun 2012: Director Legal, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited (Gurgaon) Sep 2001 - Mar 2007: Regional Legal Counsel & Company Secretary, Gillette India Limited Mar 2000 - Sep 2001: Chief Manager Legal, Indiatimes Education 1987 - 1990: Delhi University, Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com.), 1990 - 1993: University of Delhi, Bachelor of Laws (LLB), 1993 - 1995: Institute of Company Secretaries of India, A.C.S., 2011 - 2012: Kings College London, P.G. Diploma E.U. Competition Law, Kanika Shah Wadhwa Work history From: Mar 2018: GM-Legal, GSK Consumer Healthcare India (Gurgaon) Jul 2014 - Feb 2018: Senior Legal Counsel, InterGlobe Aviation Limited (Gurgaon) Dec 2008 - Jul 2014: Corporate Manager - Legal, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited 2006 - 2008: Sr. Executive- Legal, Bharti Airtel Limited 2005 - 2006: Advocate, GE Money Education 1999 - 2002: Hindu College, Bachelor of Arts (BA), Political Science 2002 - 2005: Campus Law Center, LLB, Law Varsha Chaudhary Jain Work history From: Apr 2020: Head - Legal, Nutrition, Unilever (Gurgaon) Jun 2016 - Apr 2020: General Manager - Legal, GSK Consumer Healthcare India (Gurgaon) Jan 2008 - Jun 2016: Associate Vice President - Legal & Compliance, Amway (Gurgaon) May 2005 - Dec 2007: Senior Manager - Legal, Kohinoor Foods Ltd. (New Delhi Area) Feb 2003 - May 2005: Manager - Legal, HB Stockholdings Ltd. (New Delhi Area) Jul 1998 - Dec 2001: Associate, Fox Mandal (New Delhi Area) Education 1991 - 1994: Miranda House, University of India, B.A. (Hons.), Political Science 1994 - 1997: Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.), Law
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