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BW Businessworld

Tatas Pick Honcho

The Tata Sons board appointed Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) CEO and managing director, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, putting him at the helm of the Tata Group

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma

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The second week of January witnessed a denouement in the boardroom drama at the Tata Group — a corporate behemoth that has more than 100 companies within its fold and a cumulative turnover of more than $100 billion. The Tata Sons board appointed Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) CEO and managing director, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, putting him at the helm of the Tata Group. Tata Consultancy Services CFO, Rajesh Gopinathan, succeeds Chandrasekaran as CEO of TCS.

Chandrasekaran has a master’s degree in computer applications. He joined the Tata Group in 1987 and rose through the ranks to become the CEO and MD of TCS in 2009. He was opted into the Tata Sons board in October 2016.

Tata Sons is the promoter of the Tata Group of companies and has significant shareholdings in these companies. A churning began within the group when the Tata Sons board decided to oust Cyrus Mistry as its chairman some months ago, spilling out into the open major differences between him and group patriarch, Ratan Tata.

Ratan Tata assumed the role of interim chairman of the group then and the Tata Sons board set up a five-member panel to scout for Mistry’s successor.

The five-member board set up in October, met on January 12 and finalised the 53-year-old Chandrasekaran’s candidature for the top job. A Tata Sons statement said that the selection panel had unanimously recommended Natarajan Chandrasekaran as its chairman. “Chandrasekaran has displayed exemplary leadership as TCS CEO and MD,” it said.

“Chandra” as he is popularly called, will take charge of Tata Sons on February 21. Commenting on the appointment, N. R. Narayana Murthy, co-founder, Infosys, said,

“He is an extraordinary human being, very generous and a role model for the employees and I wish him all the best.”

“Different areas of business of the Tata Group will be a challenge for him,” opined Ajay Srinivasan, CEO-Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group. “But, he has tremendous experience in other fields, which will help him positively,” Srinivasan said.

Nimesh Kampani of J M Financial, too reposed faith in Tata Sons’ incumbent chairman. “Chandrasekaran knows the ethos and values of the Tata Group. This will help him coordinate with other group companies,” he said.