Being at the helm of a company for 46 years (and 48 when he retires), L&T CMD AM Naik has been in the forefront the company's transformation into an infrastructure major. In an exclusive interview with Bloomberg UTV, Naik talks about the recent restructuring announced, his successor and why he won’t have too much energy to keep looking after his retirement in 2012.
What was the rationale behind the restructuring at L&T?
We have reduced the number of activities and tried to concentrate what we are good at. We are calling them independent companies that are actually going to be listed in the chairman’s office because finally there is only one balance sheet. I am going to discover the market cap of each and compare a benchmark with their competitors.
When did you start working on operation Lakshya?
We started working on it in the second half of 2009. Normally we should have done it in the first half of 2011 but because of the magnitude of change that we wanted to bring and not carry on with the minor dressing up, it took a long time.
Will you list these companies?
We are listing L&T Finance. We are also positioning to be a bank. If we get the license, we hope it will become L&T Bank. When I feel that a company is mature and by putting it in the market it will grow much faster then we should allow them. By 2014-15 some of these may get listed, but a majority of the sales will still remain in L&T.
Ravi Uppal is the hot favourite in the market for your successor...
I don’t think we are ready to speak about succession for now. I am trying to see how I can build lateral talent. The board will have a look and there will be a search committee. I hope by June they will come to a conclusion.
Will you be a life-time chairman?
With all the tensions on my head over the last 46 years (and will be 48 till I retire) I think I won’t have too much energy to keep looking.