ITC elevates Sanjiv Puri as chairman after Y C Deveshwar's death

Sanjiv Puri joined ITC in 1986, and has now made his way to the top job
The board of cigarette-to-hotel major, ITC, on Monday appointed Managing Director Sanjiv Puri its chairman, taking the company’s succession plan to its logical conclusion.

The appointment of 56-year-old Puri was with effect from May 13, 2019. ITC said Puri’s new designation was chairman and managing director (CMD).

Puri said, “It is an honour and privilege to be appointed the chairman of ITC. I accept the responsibility with humility and with a deep resolve to build on the outstanding legacy nurtured over the years, further strengthen and build market leadership across all business segments while reinforcing ITC’s commitment to put Nation First always.” 

With this appointment, Puri would step into the shoes of Y C Deveshwar, who passed away on Saturday.  “I am sure I can count on the support of our shareholders, partners, associates and most of all, the dedicated Team ITC to continue our shared aspiration to build an exemplary enterprise of pride to the nation,” Puri added. 

Under the new Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) norms, the top 500 listed entities would have to ensure that the chairperson would be a non-executive director from April 1, 2020. However, it does not apply to listed entities that do not have any identifiable promoter, according to the shareholding pattern filed with the stock exchanges.

ITC had split the role of executive chairman between chairman and chief executive officer in 2017 when Deveshwar moved into a non-executive role from executive chairman. Puri went on to become the chief executive officer. To many, Puri’s appointment as CMD, was a foregone conclusion. ITC had been working on its succession plan for a while now and Puri has been an important part of it, especially in recent years. 

In 2014, he was elevated to president, FMCG businesses, a position carved out for him. It was around this time that ITC forayed into new segments like juices with the acquisition of B Natural. Acquisitions like Savlon and Shower to Shower brands from Johnson & Johnson, were also made.  Puri was appointed a director on the board of ITC in 2015 and then chief executive officer from February 2017, taking independent charge of the executive leadership of the company. He would be completing a year as managing director shortly.

Sources in the know said Puri was closely linked to the company’s FMCG foray. Besides, he has handled a wide range of responsibilities in ITC, from manufacturing, operations to information and digital technology.

An engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, Puri joined ITC in 1986, and has now made his way to the top job.

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