ITC to name Sanjiv Puri CEO

ITC Ltd, India’s most valued consumer products maker, said on Tuesday it will seek board approval to name Sanjiv Puri the company’s chief executive officer with effect from 5 February.

The company will also seek approval of a board committee on 27 January to split the post of executive chairman and CEO into two, India’s largest cigarette maker said in a stock-exchange filing.

The announcement ends a long wait for a successor to YC Deveshwar, who is currently chairman and CEO. Deveshwar had last year decided to give up his executive role and take up a non-executive position.

Puri’s appointment to lead ITC was all but certain after he was named the company’s chief operating officer in July last year.

The Kolkata-based firm had in 2015 elevated Puri as the director of ITC’s fast-moving consumer goods businesses, which includes cigarettes, foods, personal care, education and stationery products.

Puri, an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, has held several key positions in the technical and engineering functions of the group focusing on technology, process and quality since he joined ITC in 1986.

He joined the company as a branch manager and was appointed as the managing director of Nepal-based Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of ITC Ltd, in 2001. At Surya Nepal, he was responsible for diversifying the operations of the company into apparel retail and exports, making it one of the largest private sector companies in Nepal.

In 2007, he became managing director of ITC Infotech India Ltd, a relatively smaller business of the company. He also served as director of wholly owned units ITC Infotech Inc USA and ITC Infotech Ltd UK and CLI3L e-Services Ltd, a joint venture between ITC Infotech India and the US-based ClientLogic.

Deveshwar is one of the most high-profile CEOs of a non-promoter company in India and has led the company for two decades. He joined ITC in 1968 and became executive chairman in January 1996. He was re-appointed as the chairman for five years in February 2012.

He led the transformation of a company known mostly as a cigarette maker to a diversified group with presence ranging from FMCG, hospitality, packaging, software services and agriculture business.

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