ITC Ltd’s Managing Director Sanjiv Puri has taken over as the company’s Chairman, too.

His elevation follows the death of YC Deveshwar, the company’s longest serving chief, on Saturday. Deveshwar had handpicked Puri to succeed him and also mentored him for the role.

“Definitely Puri has big shoes to fill, especially considering the way Deveshwar managed the regulators and diversified into new sectors,” observed Abneesh Ray, SVP, Institutional Equities, Edelweiss Securities. “But he was being groomed exactly for this. Moreover, Puri has been driving growth in the FMCG vertical over the last few quarters. So there should be no continuity problem at ITC,” he added.

Since taking over as MD last May, Puri had been handling the conglomerate’s businesses spread across verticals such as tobacco, FMCG, hotel, paper and paperboard, and agri. He is aided by executive directors Nakul Anand, B Sumant and Rajiv Tandon on the board.

Steady rise

Puri joined the ITC board as director in 2015 and was appointed as CEO in 2017. He is currently the Chairman of its corporate management committee, the highest executive decision-making body.

An alumnus of IIT-Kanpur and Wharton School of Business, Puri joined the diversified conglomerate in 1986 and rose through the ranks. In a career spanning 32 years at ITC, he has been MD of joint venture Surya Nepal and headed ITC Infotech.

He was appointed as the divisional chief executive of the tobacco division in 2009 with additional responsibility for the company’s trade marketing and distribution vertical.

In 2014, he became the president of the FMCG business, a position created specifically for him. The next year, he became the executive director and was made overall in-charge of FMCG, paperboards, paper and packaging and agri-business. In 2016, he was appointed as COO, and in 2017, CEO of ITC Ltd.

“In the journey ahead, I am sure I can count on the support of our shareholders, partners, associates and, most of all, the dedicated Team ITC to continue with our shared aspiration to build an exemplary enterprise of pride to the nation,” Puri said after taking charge.

Puri is the fifth Indian chairman of ITC after Ajit Narain Haksar, JN Sapru, KL Chugh and Deveshwar.