Leading industrialists and people from politics, sports and culture among others condoled the demise of N Sankar (74), Chairman of the Chennai-headquartered ₹12,500 crore diversified industrial house Sanmar Group.

Sankar, who passed away on Sunday after a brief illness, is survived by his wife and son Vijay Sankar, who is now the Deputy Chairman of Chemplast Sanmar, a flagship of the Sanmar Group, and a daughter.

The elder of the Group Founder K S Narayanan’s two sons, Sankar has been instrumental in the success of the Group over the last nearly five decades. A graduate in Chemical Engineering from the AC College of Technology, University of Madras, Sankar obtained his master’s degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, U.S.

“Sankar was an entrepreneur of very high standards. He straddled the macro and the micro with equal ease and skill. He led the Sanmar Group into new areas of growth while ensuring the strictest control of costs and organizational discipline. Many institutions in the field of sports and healthcare in Chennai owe a deep debt of gratitude to him,” said R Seshasayee, Vice Chairman of Hinduja Group.

Man ahead of time

Sankar was known as a “man ahead of time” as far as running the chemical industry without any major issues for decades. When zero liquid discharge (ZLD) was not well-known, Sankar went ahead making all plants comply with ZLD in the last-2000s though it cost a lot of money. Also, when the Group set up new units near coastal locations, he insisted on desalination plants for their water requirements amid higher project costs. This has ensured zero conflict with local society in the respective locations.

“Shankar was one of the pioneering industrialists of South India. He was early to adopt modern management practices and focused on building competence in his companies. He pushed international growth and investment to make Sanmar a leading player globally,” said Venu Srinivasan, Chairman-Emeritus, TVS Motor Company.

Not just in the industry, Sankar’s imprint is there in several institutions across healthcare, education, heritage, sports and charity organisations. He was also known for his patronage of sports, cricket in particular.

“Deeply saddened by the passing away of N Sankar. I have many fond memories of him, particularly with regard to tennis. As a former President of the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA) his contribution to the sport is noteworthy,” tweeted Karthi P Chidambaram, Member of Parliament of Congress party. Former cricketer W V Raman also recalled Sankar’s contribution to cricket.

Sankar was a member of the Management Boards of the Child’s Trust and a member of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode. He was the Chairman of the Chennai Willingdon Corporate Foundation, and other similar organisations.