Mumbai: S .N. Subrahmanyan, or SNS as he is called within the company, has long been the front runner to succeed A.M. Naik, executive chairman of Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T). Currently, he is deputy managing director and president, a post he has held since October 2015.
Subrahmanyan, 56, has a civil engineering degree and is a postgraduate in business management, says his profile on the L&T website.
He started with the infrastructure behemoth in 1984 as a project planning engineer and joined the company’s board in 2011. Along the way, he has overseen many of L&T’s large projects such as the construction of airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru; Metro systems in Qatar and Saudi Arabia; and the Hitec City and Hitex Exhibition Centre in Hyderabad.
Naik, who has headed India’s largest infrastructure firm for 18 years, had previously said that given the complexity of L&T with its multiple lines of businesses, an executive hired from outside might not be able to steer the company.
Indeed, Subrahmanyan owes his rise to Naik, who had spotted him over a decade ago when he was a general manager in the company’s construction unit. Subrahmanyan is known for introducing innovative practices and has been an early adopter of new technologies, his profile says.
“This (succession) was in the works for quite some time and over the last few years, the path was pretty well known and the fact that it has happened is testimony to the good planning process. SNS has been well groomed; he is aware of all the challenges, possibilities, difficulties. I have known SNS over the years and he has broad shoulders. He has a fine understanding of L&T culture and everything that goes with it,” said Vinayak Chatterjee, chairman at Feedback Infra Pvt. Ltd.
On 26 August, at L&T’s annual general meeting, Naik put all speculation at rest by clearly anointing Subrahmanyan as his successor.
In response to shareholders’ request to stay on beyond his planned retirement at the end of September 2017, Naik patted Subrahmanyan on the back and said: “This is a very strong man here, you know.”