Indian FMCG giant ITC has appointed executive director Sanjiv Puri to the newly-created post of chief operating officer.

“ITC Ltd has informed BSE that the board of directors at the meeting held on July 22, 2016, re-designated Mr. Sanjiv Puri, wholetime director, also as chief operating officer of the company with immediate effect,” ITC said in a regulatory filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The move has widely been taken as a signal that Puri is being groomed to replace YC Deveshwar when he stands down as CEO in February next year. Deveshwar has headed-up the foods-to-tobacco company for two decades. He will continue in his role as chairman. 

Speaking at the group’s AGM on Friday (22 July) Deveshwar said it was “the last time I am addressing you in the joint capacity of chairman and chief executive officer of ITC”. 

ITC has set itself the goal of becoming “the number one player in the new FMCG businesses” – including food and personal care products – and generating sales of INR100bn in these areas by 2030. 

“Going forward, with progressive development in the areas of future potentia… your company will increasingly enhance its leadership in the farm-to-fork value chain, making a large and growing contribution to the twin priority sectors of the economy, namely, agriculture and food processing,” Deveshwar told shareholders at the meeting. 

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