Tata Sons Ltd on Thursday named Natarajan Chandrasekaran, a group veteran and head of its software services unit, its new chairman to replace ousted chief Cyrus Mistry.
Chandrasekaran will take charge on 21 February, the holding company of the $100-billion conglomerate said in a statement after a board meeting. The appointment comes at a time when the group is embroiled in a legal battle with Mistry over his sacking.
Tata Sons said the decision to appoint Chandrasekaran is based on the unanimous recommendation of the selection committee.
Chandrasekaran, or Chandra as he is popularly known, was considered a frontrunner for the job after being inducted into the Tata Sons board a day after Mistry was sacked on 24 October.
At the time, Tata Sons had named group patriarch Ratan Tata as interim chairman and constituted a selection committee to choose a new chief. The panel comprised Ratan Tata, TVS Group’s Venu Srinivasan; PE firm Bain Capital’s Amit Chandra; Ronen Sen, former Indian ambassador to the US; and Kumar Bhattacharyya, Indian-origin British professor and founder of Warwick Manufacturing Group.
“Chandrasekaran has demonstrated exemplary leadership as the CEO and managing director of Tata Consultancy Services,” Tata Sons said. “We believe he will now inspire the entire Tata group to realise its potential acting as leaders in their respective businesses, always in keeping with our value system and ethics and adhering with the practices of the Tata group which have stood it in good stead.”
Chandra, as he is popularly known, is a Tata Group veteran. He joined Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, India’s largest software services exporter and the group’s cash cow, in 1987 and rose through the ranks to become its CEO in 2009.
Chandra, 53, will be the seventh chairman of the group founded by Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata in 1868. The group comprises about 100 companies in sectors as diverse as software services, steel, automobiles, telecom and beverages.
Chandra will be the first from outside the Parsi community and also the first with no connection to the founding Tata family to head the group.
New TCS CEO
During Chandra’s tenure, TCS’ revenue more than doubled to $16.5 billion in 2015-16. TCS is India’s most valuable firm with a market capitalization of $67 billion and one of the largest private-sector employers with a staff of 371,000.
In a separate stock-exchange filing, TCS said Chandra will be replaced by finance chief Rajesh Gopinathan as the CEO and managing director effective 21 February. Gopinathan joined TCS in 2001 and became the chief financial officer in 2013.
The company also appointed NG Subramaniam as chief operating officer. Subramaniam is currently president at TCS Financial Solutions, a strategic business unit of TCS.
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