Chennai: ITC chairman Y C Deveshwar passed away at a private hospital in Gurugram today after battling prolonged illness. He is survived by his wife and son.
The 72-year-old was one of the longest-serving corporate heads in Indian history and held the top post at ITC for over two decades, having joined the firm in 1968.
Born in Lahore 4 February 1947, Deveshwar is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and Harvard Business School.
He was appointed director on the board of the company 11 April 1984, and became the chief executive and chairman of the board 1 January 1996.
Deveshwar stepped down from an executive role in 2017 and remained chairman in a non-executive capacity. In 2016, ITC’s board had ‘strongly urged’ Deveshwar to continue as CEO, but he wanted the company to have a younger leader.
Between 1991 and 1994, he led Air India as chairman and managing director, apart from serving as a director on the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India and as member of the National Foundation for Corporate Governance.
Conferred the Padma Bhushan, he was also ranked as the seventh best performing CEO in the world by the Harvard Business Review.
Under his leadership, ITC transformed from being known mostly as a cigarette-maker to a diversified group with presence ranging from FMCG, hospitality, paperboard and packaging, IT and agri business.
The board had decided to extend the tenure of Deveshwar by another two years from 2020 to 2022 so that he could continue to mentor the senior management.