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Last Updated : May 11, 2019 07:09 PM IST | Source:

YC Deveshwar: ITC chief who saw beyond tobacco

An alumnus of IIT, Delhi, and Harvard Business School, he is recognized as one of the longest-serving chiefs in corporate India, who took to the helm of ITC as Executive Chairman in January, 1996.

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The former chairman of the ITC group, Yogesh Chander Deveshwar, passed awar on May 11 at the age of 72. While the cause of his death is unknown, he was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago.

At the time of his death, Deveshwar was serving as non-executive chairman of the conglomerate.

An alumnus of IIT Delhi, and Harvard Business School, he is recognized as one of the longest-serving chiefs in corporate India, who took the helm of ITC as executive chairman in January 1996.


Deveshwar, who first joined ITC in 1968, is credited with diversifying it from a tobacco company to a conglomerate involved in sectors ranging from hospitality, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) to the IT sector.

According to an Indian Express report, from the time of Deveshwar’s appointment as the chairman in 1996 to him stepping down in 2017, ITC’s annual sales grew over 11 times at Rs 55,000 crore.

The report also noted that shareholder returns grew at a compounded annual rate of over 23 percent and that more than 50 percent of the company’s revenues came from non-tobacco sources.

Deveshwar is also known as the person who kept ITC’s Indian roots intact as he fought against a majority shareholder, the British American Tobacco company, from carrying out a takeover.

From 1991 to 1994, he also served as the chairman and managing director of Air India. Deveshwar also had a stint as a director on the central board of the Reserve Bank of India.

ITC’s e-Choupal initiative which was launched 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.

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

He is now survived by his wife and children.

With inputs from PTI

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First Published on May 11, 2019 03:52 pm
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