Subrahmanyan to succeed Naik at L&T

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Mumbai: Larsen & Toubro’s deputy managing director and president S N Subrahmanyan will take over the mantle of the top job at the engineering and construction giant when A M Naik retires in September 2017 after 18 years at the helm.

Naik on Friday introduced Subrahmanyan, 55, as his successor to shareholders at the company’s 71st annual general meet. “He will be taking things forward. Ask your questions to him,” Naik said.

When L&T elevated Subrahmanyan, or SNS as he is called, from senior-vice president to deputy managing director and president last September, it was a sign that he was most likely to succeed Naik. TOI reported about the move on September 22, 2015. “There’s no doubt that he will succeed me from October 1, 2017,” Naik said. Subrahmanyan had started his career with Larsen & Toubro in November 1984 as a project planning engineer.

The septuagenarian chairman has been mentoring Subrahmanyan to become the face of the company for some time now. It is not clear what title Naik will hold once he relinquishes his executive duties. There will definitely be a chairman at the company, Naik had said in the past. On Friday, Naik declined to comment whether he would continue with the company as a non-executive chairman after September 2017.

Succession at the $16-billion L&T has been hitting headlines for a long time amid speculation whether Naik will ever retire from the company he joined as a junior engineer way back in 1965. Naik became the company’s managing director and chief executive in the summer of 1999 and subsequently became its chairman and MD in 2003.

In the past, whenever the succession issue cropped up, the company restructured leadership roles. It split the post of chairman and managing director in 2012, allowing Naik to continue as its chairman. Naik, a workaholic, has steered the company to great heights in terms of revenues and market capitalisation. On Friday, he announced an ambitious goal.

“Your company has set a revenue target of Rs 2 lakh crore,” Naik told shareholders. Without compromising on margins, the aim is to double revenues by the end of this decade, he said. “We believe that the economic conditions are now starting to turn in favour of your company. Combined with the right strategy and on-ground execution, our target, though ambitious, is achievable,” the chairman said. Defence, technology services, smart world and management will drive growth for the company in the near future.