Diversified conglomerate ITC, which has a presence in cigarettes, FMCG, hotels, paper boards and agri-produce, on Friday effected a change of guard by appointing Sanjiv Puri, the current chief operating officer, as its next CEO.
Diversified conglomerate ITC, which has a presence in cigarettes, FMCG, hotels, paper boards and agri-produce, on Friday effected a change of guard by appointing Sanjiv Puri, the current chief operating officer, as its next CEO. Puri will take over from YC Deveshwar, who is currently executive chairman and chief executive, on February 5. However, the company has split the post into two — while Puri will take over the position of CEO and will be the executive leader, Deveshwar will move to a non-executive role as chairman and will play the role of a mentor.
The change of guard at ITC comes after more than two decades as Deveshwar’s term started in 1996 and saw the firm diversify into areas other than cigarettes. According to ITC, under Deveshwar, the company’s revenue grew from Rs 5,200 crore to R51,500 crore, a near-10-fold jump. The veteran decided to step down against the wishes of the board as he’s turning 70 and wants to put in place a young leadership.
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Puri, 54, is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and has been with ITC for more than three decades, during which he has overseen the company’s FMCG business apart from cigarettes, personal care products and food.
An indication that Puri would be promoted to the top position was indicated by ITC last year in July when he was made the COO with full responsibility for day-to-day operations of the company.
Before taking over as the COO, he was responsible for overseeing the FMCG, paper boards, paper and packaging, and agri businesses of ITC. He was appointed as a director on the board of the company effective December 6, 2015. Prior to his appointment as director, he was president of FMCG businesses — cigarettes, foods, personal care, education and stationery products, matches and agarbattis — since December 2014.
ITC on Friday also beat estimates to post a 5.7% jump in its standalone net profit on a year-on-year basis to R2,646.7 crore during the October-December quarter. During the period total income from operations rose 4.7% to R13,570 crore. Operating profit grew 2.1% to R3,546.35 crore while margins were at 26.1% against 26.8% in the same period last year.
While cigarette revenue grew 2.24% year-on-year to R8,287.97 crore, other FMCG business revenue posted a marginal 1.67% growth to R3,033.69 crore during the period. Operating profit from the cigarette business increased over 3% year-on-year to R2,569.26 crore. But other FMCG business posted an operating loss of R19.66 crore against an operating profit of R18.75 crore in the corresponding period a year ago.
The ITC share closed down 2.78% at Rs 257.50 on Friday on the BSE.