PM Devaiah takes role as Adani’s first group GC

PM Devaiah takes role as Adani’s first group GC
PM Devaiah

Adani Group has appointed PM Devaiah as its first group general counsel. Devaiah began work at the company’s Ahmedabad headquarters on 5 April, moving there from Bengaluru after 14 years at private equity major Everstone Capital, where he was vice-chairman and group general counsel.

Pratibha Jain, managing partner of Nishith Desai Associates’ New Delhi office, is to succeed Devaiah as group general counsel at Everstone from 1 May. She will also be head of corporate affairs.

“The concept of a group general counsel” at the Adani Group is completely new and as such “I will not be inheriting a role”, Devaiah told India Business Law Journal, adding that he will oversee the legal function in all of the group’s businesses.

Adani Enterprises and the five other listed companies making up the group have a combined market value of more than US$100 billion. The companies are involved in sectors ranging from ports and logistics, mining and resources, to airports. The group employs more than 17,000 people across the globe and has joint ventures with global energy company Total, Israeli defence electronics company Elbit Systems and Singapore-headquartered agribusiness Wilmar Group.

Devaiah described his move as driven by a desire for “change and disruption” that came to a head with the onset of the global pandemic, during which he had been “contemplating various things including joining an art school in Europe”.

However, Devaiah chose to move to the Adani Group for the challenge the role will provide of working within highly regulated businesses.

Devaiah will report directly to the group’s chairman, Gautam Adani. He said “this aspiration to work with Mr Adani also drove me to go for the change”.

PM Devaiah, who sits on India Business Law Journal’s editorial board, previously worked at ICICI Ventures, the Carlyle Group, and BPL Cellular.

Part of Devaiah’s remit is to set up a legal team at the Adani Group. This he says is something he has done before. “I created a team in Everstone, in ICICI Ventures and in BPL, which are all places I went to as a one-man legal team.”

Everstone, which manages assets in excess of US$5 billion, has around 25 people in its legal group.