Nestle Changes India Chief Amid Row Over Maggi Noodle Quality

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Nestle SA replaced Indian unit chief Etienne Benet with the head of its Philippines division, Suresh Narayanan, amid a controversy over lead content in its popular Maggi noodles.

Benet will relocate to Switzerland while Narayanan will lead Indian operations starting Aug. 1, the Swiss foodmaker said in a stock exchange filing in Mumbai on Friday.

Hearings are underway in a lawsuit before the Bombay High Court where Nestle has challenged the recall of its noodle brand after tests by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India showed an excess presence of the heavy metal.

Nestle India is due to report quarterly earnings on July 29. In a filing on June 15, the company said the total value of its Maggi stock was about $50 million, not including the costs associated with recall and destruction. Nestle’s Maggi had a market share of 63 percent in 2014 in the world’s second-most populous country.

Regulators in the U.K. and Singapore have said that Maggi noodles imported from India are safe for consumers to eat and don’t carry hazardous levels of lead.

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