ITC Chairman YC Deveshwar will step down from his executive role in February next year and stay on as non-executive chairman until 2020, putting to rest speculation over the retirement of one of India’s longest-serving company bosses after two decades at the helm.
At the company’s forthcoming annual meeting to be held in Kolkata on 22 July, a resolution is to be moved seeking shareholders’ approval to Deveshwar’s appointment as non-executive chairman for three years from February 2017.
Earlier, at the time of Deveshwar’s last re-appointment as chairman in 2012, the company had said he might serve part of the five-year term as non-executive chairman.
Deveshwar became chairman of the company in January 1996 at a time when it was grappling with various challenges to the new businesses it had launched.
Under Deveshwar’s watch, the company battled resistance from key shareholders to its diversification efforts.
Through two decades of his leadership, ITC’s revenue had grown ten-fold—from Rs 5,200 crore to Rs 51,500 crore, while shareholder returns grew at a compounded annual rate of 23.3 per cent.
ITC made sweeping changes to its top management last year, elevating two executives in their early 50s. Sanjiv Puri was made director responsible for handling more than 80 per cent of the conglomerate’s revenue and B Sumant became president of the FMCG business.
Analysts and company trackers tip Puri as being the front-runner to succeed Deveshwar.
Deveshwar has earned several accolades during his tenure as ITC chairman. Harvard Business Review ranked him seventh best performing CEO in the world in 2012, alongside icons like Apple’s Steve Jobs. In 2011, he was conferred the Padma Bhushan.