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ITC in search of CEO for its multi-specialty hospital: Y.C. Deveshwar

LiveMint logoLiveMint 28-07-2017 Soumonty Kanungo

Kolkata: Cigarette and consumer goods maker ITC Ltd has started searching for a chief executive officer (CEO) to lead its proposed entry into the healthcare business for which it obtained shareholders’ approval last year, chairman Y.C. Deveshwar said on Friday.

Though the CEO will chart the roadmap for the business, the company has already decided what it wants its “multi-specialty hospital” to deliver: a paradigm change to give patient-care higher priority than anything else such as revenue generation, Deveshwar said.

In India, many hospitals face allegations that they are focused on shareholder returns and that they treat patients as “instruments for revenue generation”, Deveshwar said. What ITC is looking to build is an “exemplary” facility with patient care as its “central focus”, he added.

A key ITC official had earlier said in an interview that ITC is not looking to generate shareholder returns from the venture, though the hospital will be made financially sustainable on its own. The healthcare venture is part of ITC’s larger nation-building goals, said this official, asking not to be identified.

Deveshwar said doctors employed at ITC’s hospital will not receive incentives linked to the facility’s financial performance. Their remuneration will be linked only to “patient outcome”, he added. He, however, refused to commit a time frame for launch of the hospital.

Meanwhile, chief executive officer Sanjiv Puri on Friday said the transition to the goods and services tax, introduced on 1 July, was “smoother than expected”. Though there were still some disruptions and lack of preparedness among ITC’s wholesalers, the retail channels have almost “stabilised”, he said.

Asked when the company expected its entire distribution channel to stabilise, Puri said it could take months. At the time of implementation of GST, a “transformative reform”, 99% of the company’s distribution partners were ready to transition to the new tax regime, he said.

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