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YC Deveshwar, ITC’s longest serving Chairman, passes away

Yogesh Chander Deveshwar, former CEO & Chairman of ITC Ltd, passed away today morning at the age of 72. He was suffering from cancer. 

Deveshwar was the longest serving Chairman of ITC. He had joined the group in 1968, when it was primarily into the tobacco business and steered it to become a multi-business conglomerate. 

According to the ITC website, Deveshwar was appointed as a Director on the Board of the Company on April 11, 1984 and became the Chief Executive and Chairman of the Board on January 1, 1996. On splitting the role of the Executive Chairman between Chairman and Chief Executive Officer with effect from February 5, 2017, Deveshwar, at the request of the Nomination & Compensation Committee and the Board, recognising the need for orderly transition in a company of ITC’s size and complexity, agreed to continue as Chairman in non-executive capacity and also play the role of Mentor to the executive management. 

He had led ITC’s strategic thrust to create multiple drivers of growth that would make a significant and growing contribution to the Indian economy. He also shaped and implemented a Strategy of Organisation to effectively manage multiple businesses whilst retaining focus on each one of them, in the process deriving unique sources of competitive advantage from ITC’s diversity. 

Between 1991 and 1994, Deveshwar led Air India as Chairman and Managing Director. Then Civil Aviation Minister Madhavrao Scindia had appointed him to this role. According to a Business Standard report, Air India made a record Rs 1crore profit a day during Deveshwar’s tenure at the airline. 

In 2011, Deveshwar was conferred the Padma Bhushan. During the course of his career, Deveshwar had also been conferred with numerous industry awards and accolades. Harvard Business Review had ramked him as the 7th Best Performing CEO in the world. He was honoured with the Global Leadership Award by the US-India Business Council of the US Chamber of Commerce, Business Leader of the Year Award 2012 from the All India Management Association. He was conferred the CII President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in April 2018. 

Deveshwar was an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and Harvard Business School.

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