Former Maruti chairman, PSU turnaround man V Krishnamurthy dies at 97

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Venkataraman Krishnamurthy, considered the turnaround man for several Indian companies like BHEL, Maruti Udyog, SAIL and Gail (India), died on Sunday at the age of 97.

Krishnamurthy is considered “the father of public sector business in India” by many in India Inc. Born in the temple town of Karuveli in Tamil Nadu, he began his career as an airfield technician during World War II. He is probably the only person in India Inc who has the enviable recognition of being the CEO of Bharat Heavy Electricals, Maruti Udyog, Steel Authority of India and GAIL (India). He was the founding chairman of Maruti Udyog Ltd and is known to have worked behind the introduction of the iconic Maruti 800.

“He was my mentor from the moment I started working and throughout my career. He had an important role to play in helping me establish TVS Motor Company,” said Venu Srinivasan, Chairman Emeritus of TVS Motor Company. “He was one of the greatest leaders of Indian industry. His contribution to the growth of India was immeasurable. It is a great loss for Indian industry and for the country. will definitely be missed,” Srinivasan added.

Krishnamurthy had the rarest distinction of being close to former prime ministers of India like Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Sastri, Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Rajiv Gandhi and Manmohan Singh in various positions. He began his association with the government as an energy projects officer on the Planning Commission in 1954, at a time when the country’s electricity sector was in its infancy.

In the academic field, he served as the president of leading institutes like Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore, IIM Ahmedabad, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, besides becoming the chancellors of Indian Maritime University and the Central University of Tamil Nadu. . For his services, the nation had honored him with Padma Shri in 1973, Padma Bhushan in 1986 and, the country’s second highest civilian honor, Padma Vibhushan in 2007. Japan also awarded him its highest civilian honor “the Order of the Rising Sun”. in 2009 for his contributions to the promotion of bilateral economic relations between India and Japan.

“A true legend among public sector managers, a man who built BHEL, turned SAIL around and launched Maruti, is no more. V. Krishnamurthy had glorious innings but missed his century by only three years. He will remain an important part of Indian economic history,” Congress Leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted.

Krishnamurthy died at his home in Chennai, one of his former colleagues has informed. His final rites will be performed on Monday, PTI reported.

“He was one of the finest leaders in Indian industry. As a leader in Indian industry, especially the public sector, he provided clear vision and led Maruti, SAIL and BHEL as well as other other companies. He changed the way public sector industries were viewed. . May his soul rest in peace,” said Sajjan Jindal, President and CEO of JSW Steel.

According to a statement from SAIL, V Krishnamurthy served as the company’s chairman from 1985 to 1990.


“The SAIL family deeply mourns the sad passing of Padma Vibhushan Dr. Venkataraman Krishnamurthy, former Chairman of SAIL, on June 26, 2022,” he said.

“An iconic leader in the steel industry who inspired many young people to join the industry in the 80s. His tenure at BHEL and Sail was a trailblazer and he was also an inspiration to the steel movement. quality in India,” said TV Narendran, MD & CEO, Tata Steel.

“Dr. Krishnamurthy was an excellent manager. I learned a lot from him when he was president of SAIL. As a middle manager at the time, I had the opportunity to interact directly with him when he was chairman. He had a fascinating impact on his It’s a great loss for me personally,” said SK Roongta, former chairman of SAIL and currently non-executive chairman of BALCO.

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