Interventions to help society during pandemic our biggest impact: Sanjiv Puri
Puri, IMPACT Person Of the Year 2020, sat down for a fireside chat with Dr. Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-chief, exchange4media Group & BW Businessworld
Celebrating the exceptional efforts of ITC Limited CMD Sanjiv Puri in scaling his business and taking care of society during a deadly pandemic, exchange4media group honoured the stalwart with IMPACT Person Of the Year (IPOY) 2020 title at a gala event in Delhi on Thursday evening. Group’s founder Dr. Annurag Batra sat down for a fireside chat with the winner and the duo talked about the win, future plans and the impact ITC and Puri made in 2020.
Edited excerpts of the conversation
Dr. Annurag Batra: You are leading a big conglomerate with diversified businesses. If I ask you, how do you see ITC business as...what does it signify, what would you tell me?
Sanjiv Puri: To my understanding, ITC is probably the largest incubator of world-class Indian startup brands. We have created a number of brands in-house, organically with the help of people who we call professional entrepreneurs. They have a truly entrepreneurial mindset and have brought to market a number of diversified brands. For this, we have been continually investing in our infrastructure and research centers. We are creating brands and categories with the purpose of creating inclusive and sustainable value chains.
Dr. Annurag Batra: So what can we expect from ITC over the next 24-36 months?
Sanjiv Puri: We are collectively working towards transforming ITC into a future-tech enterprise, which is agile, consumer-centric, and continues to serve society the way we have always done.
To achieve this, we continue to build our businesses and brands with the strategy to have a future-ready portfolio. We are focussing extensively on deepening innovation, digital transformation, and being more ambitious towards creating sustainable brands and businesses.
Dr. Annurag Batra: At this forum, we have had our Union minister Smriti Zubin Irani talk a lot about women leaders and their contributions to businesses and society. I know, ITC too has many successful women leaders contributing to the stellar growth of a number of your businesses. Going ahead, are we going to see more women taking up leadership roles at ITC?
Sanjiv Puri: I am sure we will be seeing a lot more women at higher positions across ITC businesses. We recognise that women bring a unique perspective to the table, and we, as a company, are committed to engaging everyone equally into the business, and gender is no bar to that.
Dr. Annurag Batra: We all know you and ITC have made a stellar impact in the previous year, not just via your businesses but also the seva you did during the pandemic with your multiple CSR initiatives. But according to you, what has been the biggest impact that ITC has managed to make in 2020?
Sanjiv Puri: I feel our interventions to help society in dealing with the very serious issues that we faced in the pandemic have made the biggest impact than anything else we have done in the past year. Be it our initiatives in the hygiene space or providing food & accommodation at our hotels, or contributing to the health infrastructure by airlifting oxygen concentrators and cylinders... we are extremely proud of that.
As far as our businesses are concerned, we managed to create and bring to market critical products like sanitisers and disinfectants in record time during the time of crisis. I am so humbled and proud of all our employees who were delivering necessary products and services, coming to work daily despite the situation we were in.
Another thing that I would like to mention is our contribution to the agri-value chains. We were working with NITI Aayog in several aspirational districts, wherein we built capacities using mediums like WhatsApp. We helped over 4 lakh farmers, across 27 aspirational districts via 5000 specially curated programmes, in achieving their productivity measures.
Dr. Annurag Batra: That’s commendable. You have done a lot with ITC already. But do you also have a bucket list ready about what you want to achieve in the future?
Sanjiv Puri: As I told you, we are working very hard to be a future-tech enterprise that is agile and consumer-centric. We have traveled a fair distance in that direction but there is a lot more to be done.
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