The Telegraph
Saturday , March 10 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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L&T splits top post in succession plan

Mumbai, March 9: Putting to rest speculation on the succession plan for the top job at the $11.7-billion engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro, the company announced on Friday that K. Venkataramanan (67) will be appointed as the chief executive officer and managing director from April 1.

A.M. Naik, who so far held the twin role of chairman and managing director, will continue as executive chairman for five years.

Venkataramanan, who till now held the portfolio of president (hydrocarbons), will look after the businesses of the conglomerate.

Naik has been entrusted with the task of completing L&T’s restructuring exercise, institutionalising the independent company structure and developing the leadership team, a company statement said.

Recently, L&T had undertaken to simplify its business portfolio and create 10 independent companies and seven subsidiaries to streamline the workings of this mammoth entity.

Friday’s decision came as a relief to the markets that have been waiting for some clarity on L&T’s succession plan for a long time. The L&T scrip closed the day over 5 per cent higher at Rs 1,302 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The announcement of Naik’s successor comes at a time the company is battling a downturn both in India and overseas.

Venkataramanan, who has been with L&T since 1969 when he joined as a graduate engineer trainee, was appointed whole-time director in 1995 and later became the president of the company’s hydrocarbon unit. He is expected to retire in September 2015. Soon after the announcement, Venkataramanan said he would focus on cutting costs considering the present market situation and volatility.

The new CEO and MD also expects to expand markets by looking at new geographies beyond the Gulf and South East Asia.

Venkataramanan told reporters that he would focus on the engineering and construction segment that comprises over 80 per cent of L&T’s business.

Naik, who is credited with building L&T into its present size and scale, joined the company in 1965 as a junior engineer and rapidly rose through the ranks to become chairman in 2003.

On Venkataramanan’s appointment, Naik said, “I am pleased that the board has appointed K. Venkataramanan as CEO and managing director. I have full confidence that under Venkataramanan’s leadership, L&T will continue on its growth path”.