S N Subrahmanyan, CEO and MD, L&T
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.