Tata Sons names I-banker Saurabh Agarwal new CFO

By Maulik Vyas

  • 22 May 2017

Tata Sons Ltd, the holding company of the diversified Tata Group, has hired veteran investment banker and Aditya Birla Group’s chief strategy officer, Saurabh Agarwal, as its new chief financial officer.

This is the first top-level external hiring at the $100-billion group after it appointed N Chandrasekaran as chairman following the ouster of Cyrus Mistry.

Agarwal, who is currently overseeing the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular Ltd, will join Tata Sons in July, a company statement said.

“He brings deep capital markets knowledge and valuable cross-industry experience to this critical leadership role in the Tata group,” said Chandrasekaran. “His expertise will help us in driving rigour and synergy in capital allocation decisions, investment management as well as consolidation and optimisation of the group’s business portfolio.”

Agarwal, an alumnus of IIT Roorkee and IIM Calcutta, is a known face in India’s investment banking and finance circles. Before joining the Aditya Birla Group, he headed corporate finance for India and South Asia at British banking major Standard Chartered Plc. Prior to that, he was heading the investment banking division of DSP Merrill Lynch.

According to a veteran executive at the Aditya Birla Group, Agarwal helped the group seal many deals, including restructuring its cement business. “He is a natural leader and is quick in getting the nuances of multiple businesses,” said the executive, who didn’t wish to be named.

Agarwal’s departure from the Aditya Birla Group comes after the conglomerate recently appointed Savitri Dadhich, a co-founder of law firm Dastur Dadhich & Kalambi, as a strategic adviser to counsel the group on matters related to transactions, arbitration and litigation.

The Tata Group is just overcoming the controversy surrounding the abrupt sacking of Mistry. In March, the National Company Law Tribunal ruled that a petition filed by the investment firms owned by the Mistry family against Tata Sons and Tata Group patriarch Ratan Tata was not maintainable.

Tata Group companies collectively employ over 660,000 people. In 2015-16, the total revenue of Tata companies was $103.51 billion.

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