Ravi Uppal brought on L&T board; seen as future chief

Larsen & Toubro, the engineering and infrastructure construction major, has inducted Ravi Uppal, managing director and chief executive officer of group company L&T Power, into its board as a full-time director, fuelling speculation that he could emerge as the successor to A M Naik, the present chairman of the conglomerate.

Ravi Uppal, managing director and chief executive officer of group company L&T PowerThe high-profile Naik is 68, and expected to step down in September 2012. He will replace the company's full-time director and president N Mukhija, who will retire on 23 October.

Uppal, soon to turn 58, is already a member of the group's corporate management committee. He will join the board next month for a five-year term.

He is seen as one of the strongest contenders for the post of chairman of the Rs40,000-crore group. Ever since he joined L&T, Uppal has been seen as the heir apparent. This, however, has been repeatedly denied both by the company and Uppal.

Uppal was head of global markets and member of the executive committee of the ABB Group where he spent around 18 years in two different stints before he joined L&T in January 2009. He has also worked with Swedish carmaker Volvo.

Uppal's appointment to the L&T board - he will replace RN Mukhija , who retires as director on October 23 - was made after the engineering major decided to bid on its own to supply equipment to power projects, instead of through subsidiary L&T Power, to meet eligibility criteria such as net worth and experience.