New Delhi: ITC chairman Yogendra Chander Deveshwar passed away this morning at the age of 72. Deveshwar was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, but the cause of his death remains uncertain.

Deveshwar (72), who stepped down from the executive role in 2017 but remained as a chairman in a non-executive capacity, passed away this morning at a private hospital in Gurugram. 

After joining ITC in 1968, Deveshwar became the executive chairman of the company in 1996. He championed various causes as the head of ITC and focused mainly on encouraging sustainable and inclusive growth. 

Under his leadership, ITC also managed to ward off takeover threats from its largest shareholder BAT (British American Tobacco) and managed to diverge into FMCG category successfully.

ITC Ltd MD, Sanjiv Puri said, "Inspired by a 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." 

Devshwar, the longest-serving chief person of ITC, was also awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Indian government in 2011. He was also ranked number 7 on the Harvard Business Review's best-performing CEOs in the world.