Ex-Cloudtail CEO may join Amazon's food retail biz

He joined Amazon India again as director category leadership after stepping down as CEO of Cloudtail
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Former Cloudtail CEO of Madhu M has been appointed as the head of food retail venture for the Seattle-based e-tailer in the country, people aware of the development said.

Amazon has allocated about $500 million of investment for its food retail business and recently expanded its pilot project to new cities after a test run in Pune earlier this year.

Madhu served as the CEO of Cloudtail for almost three years starting in 2014 after working with Amazon from 2011. He joined Amazon India again as director (category leadership) after stepping down as CEO of Cloudtail.

Sources in the know said Madhu is being given the charge to look after the food retail business as the company prepares for a wider launch across the country. When contacted, an Amazon spokesperson did not comment on the matter but said the company was expanding the business in India. "We have expanded our pilot to a few cities and are on track to launch the food retail business in India," the spokesperson said.

Amazon has shown aggressive to the India market with its e-commerce business and it is expected it would build a substantial presence for food retailing as well. However, the company is currently in the process of fulfilling government compliance before launching it nationally. "The pilot is being expanded at a cautious pace and a regular Amazon-like scale rollout is still some months away," a person aware the plans said.

Amazon Retail India, the wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon that houses the food retailing business, is expected to run the business separately from the core e-commerce business.

The government in 2016 allowed 100% foreign direct investment in food-only retail and Amazon's application to start the business was approved last year in July. Once a national roll-out is done, Amazon will retail locally produced and packaged food products through offline and online channels.