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India’s Third Wave Coffee appoints former DIL executive Rajat Luthra as CEO

The former KFC India & Nepal CEO will join the Bengaluru-based coffee chain on 1 April 2024 to lead its next phase of growth, as Co-Founder Sushant Goel steps down to take up a a position on the board

Third Wave Coffee raised $35m in a private equity round led by Creaegis and Westbridge Capital in September 2023 | Photo credit: Sehajpal Singh


Third Wave Coffee has announced former Devyani International Limited (DIL) executive Rajat Luthra will become its new CEO, effective 1 April 2024. 

Luthra joins the Bengaluru-based coffee chain from DIL where he served as CEO of KFC India & Nepal – responsible for more than 600 outlets. He succeeds Third Wave Coffee Co-Founder Sushant Goel who will transition from CEO to a board member role. 

In a press release, Third Wave Coffee said Goel will continue to contribute towards the growth and development of the 110-store coffee chain. 

“As CEO and Co-founder, I have had the privilege of leading the company through its formative years and I am incredibly proud of the journey that we have embarked on. The brand is ready to embark on its next leg of growth. Now, as I transition to the Board, I am excited to continue contributing towards our vision and growth from a different vantage point. Rajat is a veteran in the QSR industry, and I am filled with optimism on what the future holds for Third Wave Coffee under his stewardship,” Goel said. 


Read related content: All rise for India’s fast-growing coffee industry 

Goel founded Third Wave Coffee alongside Ayush Bathwal and Anirudh Sharma in 2016. In September 2023 the business raised $35m in a private equity round led by Creaegis and Westbridge Capital which valued it at $150m. Goel, Bathwal and Sharma retain approximately 30% ownership of the coffee chain. 

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Sushant for his instrumental role in shaping the remarkable journey of Third Wave Coffee thus far. His vision, dedication, and unwavering commitment as CEO have been pivotal in propelling our company to new heights. Together, under Sushant’s continued guidance and Rajat's leadership, we are poised to embrace new opportunities and drive the company to new heights,” Creaegis and Westbridge Capital said in a joint statement.   

Third Wave Coffee is part of a fast-growing scene of Indian coffee start-ups, including Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters, Nothing Before Coffee and abCoffee.  

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