ITC's longest-serving chairman Y C Deveshwar passes away

  • Y C Deveshwar passes away today morning. He was 72
  • In 2011, Y C Deveshwar received the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian award

Y C Deveshwar, chairman of ITC group, passed away on Saturday. He was 72. One of India’s longest-serving corporate chiefs, Y.C. Deveshwar took over as chairman of ITC group in January 1996 when the company was going through its worst crisis. Under Deveshwar’s watch, the company battled resistance from key shareholders to its diversification efforts.

Within two years of taking the helm, Deveshwar was forced to cut losses and get out of the edible oils and financial services business. Within four years of Deveshwar’s becoming chairman, ITC was again trying to enter new business segments. It started with stationery products and soon launched others such as food.

Through two decades of his leadership, ITC’s revenue had grown ten-fold—from 5,200 crore to 51,500 crore, while shareholder returns grew at a compounded annual rate of 23.3%, the company claimed in its statement to shareholders.

Also read: What an extension for Y.C. Deveshwar says about ITC’s ability to fly solo

ITC’s market capitalization at the end of 2015-16 was $45 billion, almost 50 times its market value in 1996.

“The way he has built the consumer goods business is unbelievable," says Sanjiv Goenka, chairman of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka group.

Deveshwar stepped down as chief executive of ITC Ltd, India's largest cigarette maker, in 2017. After that, he moved to the role of non executive chairman. He is survived by his wife and son.

He was also a director on the central board of the Reserve Bank of India

In 2011, Deveshwar received the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian award.