Arun Adhikari graduated with a B Tech (Chemical Engineering) from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 1975 and then completed his MBA in 1977 from Indian Institute of Management  Calcutta. He joined Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) as Management Trainee in 1977 and was with Unilever through his full career. From 1977 to 2000 he worked in a series of increasingly senior roles across Sales, Marketing and Consumer Research in India.
In 2000 he became Executive Director for Personal Care in HUL with full responsibility for all aspects of the business including Marketing, Sales, Supply Chain, Finance and Human Resources; joined the Management Committee of Hindustan Unilever Ltd. In 2004 was appointed Managing Director for Home and Personal Care and joined the Board of Hindustan Unilever Ltd.
Arun was appointed Chairman, Unilever Japan KK in 2006 and was based in Tokyo for three years, responsible for Unilever operations in Japan and Korea. In 2009 he became Senior Vice-President for Unilever Laundry Category across Asia and Africa, based in Singapore. Key responsibilities included development of category & brand strategy, brand portfolio decisions, supply chain strategy, pricing strategy, product innovation and advertising development.
Arun Adhikari retired from Unilever in January 2014, joined McKinsey & Company in India as Senior Advisor from May 2014 to November 2017 supporting the Consumer Practice and working extensively with McKinsey clients across a wide range of industries on Marketing and Sales strategy related areas. In January 2017 was appointed (non-Exec) Chairman of Nielsen India Pvt Ltd.
Is now an Independent Director on the Boards of UltraTech Cement Ltd, Aditya Birla Capital Ltd., Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance Co Ltd, Vodafone Idea Ltd and Voltas Ltd.