After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.
How does one judge YC Deveshwar? - a man whose list of achievements as chairman of Indian Tobacco Company or ITC are formidable. An ITC lifer (except between 1991 and 1994 when he was chairman of Air India) he’s spent the last 19 years as chairman of India’s largest tobacco company.
He’s widened and deepened the company’s tobacco business moat. Over the years the cash flows of this business have allowed ITC to incubate a series of businesses from hotels to paperboards and agri-businesses to information technology. But it is the company’s strategic pivot towards consumer goods that has been the most keenly watched. Rightly or wrongly for Yogi, as Deveshwar is known, this is the most viewed metric on which industry watchers, analysts and shareholders have judged him. On Tuesday, Deveshwar announced that he would let go of his executive role in February 2017 while staying on as non-executive chairman till 2020.