Tata Sons has appointed Harish Bhat, presently the managing director of Tata Global Beverages Ltd (TGBL), as the sixth member of its group executive council (GEC). The council was set up last May to provide strategic and operational support to the new chief of Tata Group, Cyrus Mistry.
The GEC, which also includes Mistry, took on the responsibility for all the roles earlier performed by both the group corporate centre (GCC) and the group executive office (GEO). It works closely with and partners the boards, CEOs and senior managements of various Tata companies.
Mistry had created GEC last year handpicking a team of young executives, both internally within the group and from outside. Other members of the GIC include NS Rajan, who leads the strategic function of human resources; Mukund G Rajan, who oversees brand, communication, ethics and corporate sustainability; Madhu Kannan, heading business development and public affairs and Nirmalya Kumar, who is responsible for strategy at the group level and bringing customer centricity to the fore across group companies.
Bhat is the second serving group executive to join the top group strategy body reporting directly to Mistry, after Mukund Rajan, who was earlier involved with Tata’s PE arm. NS Rajan was roped in from E&Y; Kannan was previously chief of BSE and Kumar is a former professor at London Business School.
Bhat joined the Tata group as TAS probationer in 1987 and has worked with Tata Tea Ltd and Titan Industries Ltd.
In his career with the Tata group, Bhat—an alumnus of BITS Pilani and IIM Ahmedabad, graduating top among classmates in both institutions and winning IIM Ahmedabad’s gold medal for scholastic excellence—has served as the COO of the watches and accessories business of Titan and has worked in senior level roles with the jewellery and telecom businesses. He was also involved in some key strategic moves over the past two decades, including the launch and nurturing of many iconic brands, as well as the acquisition of Tetley.
In 2012, Bhat had taken a brief sabbatical to write a book on the Tata group.
Meanwhile, hot beverage giant TGBL, which is also a partner for Starbucks in India, has elevated Ajoy Misra to take over the reins from Bhat, as the managing director of the company from April 2014. The board of directors of the company has also decided that Bhat will remain as a non-executive director of TGBL.
Misra is presently executive director and deputy CEO of the firm. A Civil Engineering graduate from BITS Pilani with an MBA from FMS, Delhi; Misra is currently based in the UK. Previously he was with Indian Hotels for nearly 30 years and was leading its sales and marketing function. His prior roles include heading sales for the Taj Group and being area director in the Sri Lanka and Maldives regions.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)