He has been instrumental in transforming ITC from a tobacco and hotels company to one of India’s fastest growing FMCG companies. In 2018, IIT Kanpur conferred upon him the prestigious Distinguished Alumnus Award for professional excellence.
Mr. Puri obtained his B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Kanpur in 1985 and a management degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. He then joined ITC Limited and handled a wide range of responsibilities from manufacturing and operations to information and digital technology before moving to higher ranks. His first major break came in 2001 when he was appointed as the managing director of ITC’s subsidiary, Surya Nepal. He drove the company’s diversification from cigarettes into apparel. The move paid off and Surya Nepal went on to become the largest private sector company in Nepal. In 2006, he was assigned to lead ITC Infotech at a time was the company was formulating its strategy of transformation. He played a pivotal role in spreading ITC Infotech’s footprint overseas. In 2008, ITC Infotech acquired US-based testing solutions company, Pyxis Solutions for more than $25 million in an all-cash deal. He was also on the Boards of ITC Infotech’s wholly owned subsidiaries in the UK and USA.
In 2009, Mr. Puri took charge as the divisional chief executive of ITC’s India Tobacco Division, handling additionally, the charge of the company’s trade marketing and distribution function. In 2014, he was elevated to become the President, FMCG businesses – Cigarettes, Foods, Personal Care, Education & Stationery Products, Matches and Agarbattis – a position specially carved out for him. Being a successful manager and visionary, he is now responsible for driving more than 60% of the firm’s revenues and 80% of ITC’s profits.
Mr. Puri has truly enhanced ITC’s vision to be a vibrant engine of economic, societal and environmental growth to make a sustainable contribution to the Indian economy. He said in one of his interviews, “We didn’t just make a decision to transform, we went after every single thing that could be done to grow responsibly. We went to the farmers and undertook a holistic rural development program…we have been working actively to double farmer incomes and create sustainable livelihoods.” Presently, he is championing ITC’s campaign “Sab Saath Badein” focused on improving the lives of farmers and their families.
Mr. Puri has several awards and honors to his credit and serves on many national and international committees namely: Chairman of SNPL; Senior Vice Chairman of I3L; Chairman of the FICCI FMCG Committee; Member of the FICCI National Executive Committee; Former chairman of the Agri & Food Processing Taskforce of CII Eastern Region; Former member of the CII Eastern Regional Council; Director on the Board of The Tobacco Institute of India; and past member of the Board of Governors of Media Research Users Council. He was also on the Executive Council of The Indian Society of Advertisers. He is also a Director on the Board of US-India Strategic Partnership Forum.
Despite all the achievements he has made, Mr. Puri believes that there are many more mountains to climb and the journey is still in its nascent stages.