Conferred the Padma Bhushan for his service to the nation, Deveshwar championed the cause for sustainable and inclusive growth and the transformative role businesses could play in creating larger societal value. This vision drove ITC to pursue business models that today supports over six million livelihoods, many amongst the weakest in society.
Sanjiv Puri, the managing director of ITC Ltd said in an official statement, "We deeply mourn the passing away of YC Deveshwar, chairman ITC. In this hour of profound grief and sorrow, we recall with respect and pride the legendary stewardship he provided to ITC over two decades as its chairman. Inspired by patriotic fervour, manifest in his clarion call of 'Lets Put India First', he led ITC's strategic thrust to create an exemplary Indian enterprise dedicated to serving national priorities."
Puri said, "Spearheading a journey of stellar growth that led the Harvard Business Review to rank him the 7th Best Performing CEO in the world, his leadership transformed ITC into a valuable and admired multi-business conglomerate" Today ITC boasts of a robust portfolio of front-ranking businesses in FMCG, hotels, paperboards & paper, packaging and Agri-Business. Puri said, "His vision to make societal value creation a bedrock of corporate strategy also led ITC to become a global exemplar in sustainability and the only company in the world to be carbon positive, water positive and solid waste positive for over a decade."
Puri concluded, "His super-ordinate vision to build an exemplary Indian enterprise, to serve national priorities, create the businesses of tomorrow, impeccable values and personal integrity, the width and depth of his strategic thinking and his compassionate conduct of business will continue to inspire us in the journey ahead.
Deveshwar, who is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and Harvard Business School, joined ITC in 1968. He became its chief executive and chairman on January 1, 1996. Between 1991 and 1994, he served as the chairman and managing director of Air India.
He stepped down as chief executive in 2017 but remained a non-executive chairman.
YC Deveshwar is survived by his wife Bharti Deveshwar, children Gaurav and Garima.