India’s Tata Sons names TCS’ Chandrasekaran as new chairman

Salt-to-software conglomerate turns to chief of most profitable group company to replace ousted Cyrus Mistry

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 January, 2017, 9:39pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 January, 2017, 9:58pm

India’s US $100 billion salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Sons on Thursday named its software services unit’s boss Natarajan Chandrasekaran as new chairman, local media reported.

Tata Sons said the appointment follows the unanimous recommendation by the selection committee to appoint Chandrasekaran as chairman. It said he would take charge as new chairman from February 21.

The announcement was made after an unscheduled board meeting called at 4 pm (Indian time) Thursday, well ahead of the February 24 deadline for selecting a new chairman, the Economic Times reported.

Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group – a business empire ranging from Jaguar Land Rover and steel mills to aviation and salt pans – ousted its chairman Cyrus Mistry in October 2016, sparking a bitter public spat.

Chandrasekaran, 53 and a Tata Group veteran, currently heads IT outsourcing firm Tata Consultancy Services, India’s most-valuable company with a market capitalisation of US$67 billion.

“Let us not speculate,” he had earlier said, when asked at a news conference Thursday, after TCS unveiled its quarterly results, whether he was getting the Tata Sons chairman’s role.

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A masters degree holder in computer applications, Chandrasekaran joined the group in 1987, and rose through the ranks to become TCS chief executive in 2009.

He was named to the Tata Sons board in October, after Mistry’s ouster. Chandrasekaran also serves on the board of Reserve Bank of India, India’s central bank.

Television stations also said TCS chief financial officer Rajesh Gopinathan would be appointed as the software services company’s chief executive.

Ratan Tata, patriarch of one of India’s most influential families, had taken over as interim chairman of Tata Sons after the board ousted Mistry.

In October, Tata Sons’ board had set up a five-member selection committee that included Ratan Tata to choose a new chairman within the next four months.