Tata Sons, the holding firm of the diversified business conglomerate Tata Group, has appointed Farida Khambata, global strategist at emerging markets focused investment firm Cartica Capital, as a non-executive independent director of the company, it said on Wednesday.
Khambata becomes the first professional woman director on the board of Tata Sons. Navajbai Tata, who was part of Sett family and married to Ratan Tata (a deceased member of the Tata family, not the current chairman emeritus with the same name), became a director of Tata Sons in 1918 after the death of her husband. She remained on the board till her death in 1965.
Khambata is a former member of IFC’s management group; she served as regional vice-president in charge of operations in East Asia and the Pacific, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and the global manufacturing cluster.
She was responsible for strategy, investment operations and advisory services in IFC’s member countries in these regions, which account for about three-quarters of all IFC’s investments. Khambata also oversaw equity investments globally and investments specifically in agribusiness, manufacturing & services and health & education.
She joined IFC in 1986 from the World Bank, where she managed pension fund assets and was in charge of non-US equities.
Sixty-four-year-old Khambata holds an MA in Economics from the University of Cambridge, an MS in business management from the London Business School and attended the advanced management program at Wharton Business School.
She also serves on the boards of Bank Muscat in Oman, VEIL in Vietnam and the advisory board of ADM (seven funds).
Although her appointment comes in the wake of SEBI’s guidelines asking listed companies to appoint at least one woman director on their board by October 1, 2014 which was later relaxed to April 1, 2015, it is not directly linked to the requirement. Tata Sons is a private firm.
Along with Khambata, the firm has named Ronen Sen, former ambassador of India to the US, as an independent director.
Sen, who has been India’s ambassador to the US from 2004 to 2009, has also been India’s ambassador to Mexico (1991-92), to the Russian Federation (1992-98) and the Federal Republic of Germany (1998-2002) and also served as high commissioner to the UK (2002-04).
Seventy-year-old Sen has also served on the board of Tata Motors as a non-executive independent director for two years.
After graduation from St Xavier’s College, Calcutta, he joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS).
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)