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Here are 10 things you didn’t know about YC Deveshwar

PW Bureau

It was because of Deveshwar that ITC went from being a tobacco company to being a business behemoth with interests in FMCG, hospitality, IT and other sectors

New Delhi: ITC Chairman and industry stalwart YC Deveshwar, who passed away on Saturday morning at the age of 72, was a maverick who gave the cigarette major a diversification plan that no one could have thought was possible. It was because of Deveshwar that ITC went from being a tobacco company to being a business behemoth with interests in FMCG, hospitality, IT and other sectors.

And that is the reason why even after stepping down as Chairman and CEO of ITC in 2017, Deveshwar continued to be a non-executive chairman till the day he breathed his last at a private hospital in Gurugram.

Here are 10 things that you probably did not know about the industry stalwart:

  1. Deveshwar is one of the longest-serving top executives of a corporate entity in India. When he took charge at the helm of the company in the mid-1990s, the diversification strategies at ITC had been either failing or languishing. The company’s revenue was less than Rs 5,200 crore and Profit Before Tax (PBT) stood at Rs 452 crore.
  2. He is an alumnus of IIT Delhi and Harvard Business School. And Deveshwar also served as the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India between 1991 and 1994.
  3. After stepping down as CEO of ITC in 2017, he continued to play the role of mentor to the executive management led by Sanjiv Puri.
  4. He’s a recipient of Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civilian awards in India.
  5. Deveshwar also served as a director on the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India, as a member of the National Foundation for Corporate Governance and member of the governing body of the National Council of Applied Economic Research.
  6. He was popularly known as YCD in corporate circles.
  7. The stalwart served as a member of the UK-India CEO Forum and US-India CEO Forum instituted by the respective governments.
  8. During his tenure as executive chairman, ITC’s revenues grew 10-fold to Rs 51,582 crore and profit before tax rose 33 times to Rs 14,958 crore; total shareholder returns grew at a compounded annual rate of 23.3 percent.
  9. ITC’s e-Choupal initiative started in 2000 was Deveshwar’s brainchild. It provided a platform for farmers to secure agricultural and aquaculture products like soybeans, wheat, coffee, and prawns. Its success even prompted Harvard Business School to carry out a case study on it.
  10. “I would say that companies like L&T and ITC can be the models for what the public sector can become tomorrow,” he told Business Today in an interview in 2012.