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India Business Journal - - CONTENTS - S N SUBRAH­MANYAN

S N Subrah­manyan, CEO and MD, L&T

Dou­bly-Charmed Baryon

Spir­i­tual Cor­ner: Sci­ence of Karma

After two decades at the helm, Anil Manib­hai Naik, bet­ter known as A M Naik, is call­ing it a day at Larsen & Toubro (L&T). Mr Naik, the face of L&T for decades and cur­rently its group ex­ec­u­tive chair­man, will be tak­ing over as non-ex­ec­u­tive chair­man from Oc­to­ber 1.

Mr Naik has passed on his ex­ec­u­tive re­spon­si­bil­i­ties into the safe hands of S N Subrah­manyan. Last month, Mr Subrah­manyan, a 57-yearold vet­eran L&T en­gi­neer, took charge as chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the coun­try's largest en­gi­neer­ing com­pany. The top L&T ex­ec­u­tive, who was ear­lier deputy man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and pres­i­dent of the Mumbai- head­quar­tered com­pany, may not be as pop­u­lar as Mr Naik. How­ever, SNS, as he is called within the com­pany, has had an il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer with some of the awe-in­spir­ing en­gi­neer­ing feats to his credit.

Armed with a civil en­gi­neer­ing de­gree and a post-grad­u­a­tion in busi­ness man­age­ment, Mr Subrah­manyan joined the in­fra­struc­ture be­he­moth in 1984 as a project plan­ning en­gi­neer. He soon shot to fame within L&T by suc­cess­fully set­ting up a ready-mix con­crete (RMC) busi­ness for the en­gi­neer­ing com­pany. In fact, his in­no­va­tion turned out to be the coun­try's first RMC fa­cil­ity.

The RMC fa­cil­ity was just the be- gin­ning of a se­ries of big- ticket projects that put the spot­light on the new L&T chief's in­no­va­tive streak. All through his ca­reer, Mr Subrah­manyan was in charge of some of the coun­try's iconic projects, such as erect­ing the Statue of Unity - en­vis­aged as one of the tallest stat­ues in the world - and devel­op­ment of ded­i­cated freight cor­ri­dors - aimed at re­align­ing the dy­nam­ics of freight move­ment in the coun­try. He played a cru­cial role in se­cur­ing and man­ag­ing en­gi­neer­ing, pro­cure­ment and con­struc­tion (EPC) con­tracts for con­struc­tion of four ma­jor in­ter­na­tional air­ports in Bengaluru, Hy­der­abad, Delhi and Mumbai.

SNS, in fact, was largely re­spon­si­ble for es­tab­lish­ing L&T's con­struc­tion divi­sion as a sig­nif­i­cant EPC player in West Asia. He spear­headed and won sev­eral large projects in Oman, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Ara­bia, like the Salalah Air­port in Oman and a big in­ter­change and road project in the UAE.

The Riyadh Metro project is one

of the largest in­ter­na­tional or­ders bagged by L&T thus far. Be­sides, the Doha Metro and the Al-Wakrah Road projects, both in Qatar, and the Abu Dhabi Air­port air­side works have been won in the face of stiff in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion. He has also led ex­pan­sion of the com­pany's con­struc­tion divi­sion into Africa. Mr Subrah­manyan's ini­tia­tives and ef­forts have turned L&T's con­struc­tion divi­sion into one among the top-30 global con­trac­tors.

A decade ago, Mr Naik spot­ted Mr Subrah­manyan, when he was a gen­eral man­ager in the com­pany's con­struc­tion unit. Since then, Mr Subrah­manyan has been groomed to take on the big re­spon­si­bil­ity.

As Mr Subhra­manyan takes charge of his new re­spon­si­bil­ity, he has his work cut out for him. The new L&T chief has to face a slew of chal­lenges, in­clud­ing a slow­down in West Asia, loss-mak­ing hy­dro­car­bon and ship­build­ing busi­nesses and a gen­eral slow­down in or­der in­flows.

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