Deveshwar joined ITC Limited in 1968. He was appointed as a main board director in 1984 and became the CEO and chairman in January 1996. Deveshwar was due to step down as head of ITC in 2010.
He was a director on the central board of the Reserve Bank of India, a member of the National Foundation for Corporate Governance, and a member of the governing body of the National Council of Applied Economic Research.
Deveshwar was India's longest-serving CEO at the time of his death, and earned nearly triple the second-highest salary in his company. In 2011, it was reported that his salary was 26 lakh (2.6 million) rupees per month. In 2013, he was listed as the best performing CEO in India by Harvard Business Review and seventh in the world. In 2011, Deveshwar received the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian award.
Deveshwar died on 11 May 2019, and although the immediate cause of death was not announced, it was known that he had been diagnosed with cancer a few years before.