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Last updated on: November 24, 2011 11:09 IST

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Arijit Barmanslidebyline_location

he month of June in New York is warm and a great time to visit the Big Apple.

But the five brain trusts of the Tata Group had no time to enjoy a summer vacation. The clock was ticking. They had to finalise Ratan Tata's successor by the year end and they had already cast their net wide. Sources aware of the selection process said, by then potential candidates from within the $83 billion conglomerate were already shortlisted along with global leaders many of whom incidentally also had a strong "India connect."

Click here for the Tata family tree

Among them were Anshu Jain, the poster boy of investment banking from Deutche Bank, Vodafone's former bossturned- PE investor Arun Sarin and American John Thaine, the last chairman and chief executive officer of Merill Lynch. "Indra Nooyi's name was never there," quipped a source. Click on NEXT for more...

Rediff.com Business Tata succession: How the 'Mistry' was solved

Tata succession: How the 'Mistry' was solved


Last updated on: November 24, 2011 11:09 IST

Internal candidates like Ishaat Hussain - the Group's CFO and B.Muthuraman, Tata Steel's former boss - were also
seriously considered and their interviews taken. But by then, it was becoming increasingly clear that two factors would be critical for the final selection for the top job at Bombay House. More than succession, it had to be "legacy planning". It was as much about competence as it was about continuity. And that's when the panel realised that the suitable boy could well be a 43-year old man who has been with them for the last 10 months. "Around that New York meeting, Cyrus was sounded out and he dropped out of the selection committee and became a candidate himself," said a source. He thought about it, consulted his family and father -- who is the largest shareholder of Tata Sons - and came back to face the same rigorous exercise that the other candidates had to go through. Click on NEXT for more...

Tata succession: How the 'Mistry' was solved


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What perhaps worked for Cyrus as opposed to some of the others were a handful of very important factors. He was
already in the Tata Sons board for over five years.

As a young blood, he has always been vocal about the strategic path the group should undertake in the coming years. Even during the interview process, he repeatedly articulated that big picture, what the group should do or strive for in the next few years. His past and present colleagues from the Tata Sons board say, he has always been a supporter of young managers getting nurtured and a senior management pool to infuse fresh thinking. So in him there was continuity of a thought process, one that gelled well with Ratan Tata himself. "There has always been a strong chemistry between the two," quips JJ Irani, former Tata Sons director. "In board meetings, Mr Tata would often seek out his advice." Click on NEXT for more... Image: Cyrus Mistry.

Tata succession: How the 'Mistry' was solved


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Moreover, at 43, he has age on his side and close to at least 25 years ahead of him to chart out his own leadership
course. Cyrus's passion for finance and engineering background also helped. Even though during big ticket acquisitions like Corus or JLR, the lead role was always played by the operating companies, Cyrus is believed to have given strategic inputs as the youngest member of the board of Tata Sons - the group's apex decision making body. Many Tata Group watchers say it is believed that Ratan Tata has always kept a close eye on Cyrus ever since the various holding structures in Shapoorji Pallonji companies like ACC were resolved post the Tata branding days. "It was a smooth and seamless transition, and no acrimony involved," said a person in the know. So when Ratan Tata actually mentioned Noel Tata lacked experience, the rumblings had already begun. It would have been tough for Noel who was not even inducted in the Tata Sons board. Eighteen meetings later, the selection committee chose one of its own. Click on NEXT for more... Image: Noel Tata.

Tata succession: How the 'Mistry' was solved


Last updated on: November 24, 2011 11:09 IST

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The selectors

Cyrus Mistry's selection as the deputy chairman and heir-apparent took a little over a year. In August 2010, when a
five-member committee was set up to select Ratan Tata's successor, he was part of the team. The other four members included three seniors of the group -- NA Soonawala, R K Krishna Kumar and Shirin Barucha. The only outsider, Sushanta Kumar Bhattacharya, whose surname is usually prefixed by his title of 'Lord', is the founder of Warwick Manufacturing Group in Britain.

R K Krishna Kumar is a director on the Tata Sons Board. He is also chairman in several other firms, including Tata Coffee, Infiniti Retail (Croma), Tata Realty and Infrastructure, Tata Housing and Development Company and vicechairman of Tata Tea and of Indian Hotels. He is a trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and some allied Tata trusts N A Soonawala, number two on the Tata Sons board till his retirement, is one of the most trusted lieutenants of Ratan Tata. He is a member and trustee of several trusts. Lord Sushanta Kumar Bhattacharya is founder of the Warwick Manufacturing Group, an industrial consultancy and part of Warwick University. A close friend of Ratan Tata's for years, he has been instrumental in the group's expansion in the UK. Shirin Bharucha's association with the group dates back to the 1960s. She has advised about 80 companies of the group. She is also involved with a number of trusts. Image: R K Krishna Kumar, N A Soonawala, Lord Sushanta Kumar Bhattacharya, Shirin Bharucha.

What is Ratan Tata's post-retirement plan?


Last updated on: June 3, 2011 11:46 IST Share this

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Surajeet Das Gupta in New Delhi

is retirement may still be a year away, but Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata is already working on his post-

retirement plan. Tata plans to do what he has always been passionate about -- set up a design centre of international standards and scale. A Tata group spokesperson confirmed that one area in which Tata would work was design, but did not give details. Sources close to the development said he was looking to set up an international centre with state-of-the-art facilities to design a wide range of products. Click NEXT to read more... Image: Ratan Tata after receiving the lifetime achievement award for management. Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters

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The amazing story of how Ratan Tata built an empire


Last updated on: October 21, 2010 08:19 IST Share this

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Meenakshi Radhakrishnan-Swami, Rashmi K Pratap, Mohammed Ekramul Haque and Ajita Shashidharslidebyline_location

e's packing his bags -- again. December 2012, when he turns 75, is the third scheduled retirement for Ratan

Tata. The Tata Group has been at this inflection point twice earlier, and stepped back both times. In 2002, when Tata was to retire at 65, the Tata Sons board promptly redesignated him non-executive chairman, which meant he could continue for another five years.

Three years later, the board upped the retirement age of non-executive directors to 75. The message is clear: Ratan Tata is indispensable. And it's not just the board that feels that way. There were loud cries of support from shareholders at the Tata Steel AGM in August, held soon after the announcement that Tata Sons had created a panel to find Tata's successor. "We can't lose our ratan (jewel)," said one shareholder, while others asked him to stay on as chairman emeritus. Whether or not he acknowledges it openly, Tata must be feeling vindicated by this public recognition of his worth. When he took over as Tata Group chairman on March 25, 1991, critics were loud and unrestrained in their disapproval and scepticism. Ratan Tata was considered to have gained his position purely on the strength of his surname; he was incompetent, raged opponents both within and outside Bombay House, and he didn't possess an iota of the charisma of his uncle and predecessor, JRD Tata. Nearly 20 years later, Ratan Tata has achieved almost everything on his 1991 agenda. At Rs 3.46 lakh crore (Rs 3.46 trillion), Tata Group revenue is 40 times the 1991 level, while net profit has gone up four times. Click NEXT to read on . . .

The amazing story of how Ratan Tata built an empire


Last updated on: October 21, 2010 08:19 IST Share this

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It is the largest Indian multinational conglomerate; more than 65% of the group's income comes from overseas and it
has 98 operating companies (28 listed) spread across 56 countries in six continents. In the past decade -- the decade that marked the glorious years of Ratan Tata -- nearly $18 billion was shelled out to acquire 22 companies worldwide, including Tetley Tea and Corus Steel in the UK, New York's Pierre Hotel and Jaguar Land Rover. The Tata Group includes India's largest private steel company, the biggest auto manufacturer and the largest IT outsourcing firm. "Ratan Tata outperformed JRD. He toppled people as strong as Russi Mody, thought out of the box and came up with path-breaking concepts like the Nano," says Bala V Balachandran, faculty member at Kellogg School of Management, and dean of the Great Lakes Institute of Management. Not bad going for a man who was once likened to the clown in a circus (by his loudest detractor, Russi Mody). For Tata's successor -- whoever that turns out to be -- the bar's been raised sky high.

"Tata's job is the most difficult one in the country today. Whoever runs the Tata Group has to provide strategic leadership, direction and inputs on multiple businesses, which is hugely challenging," says Rajeev Gupta, managing director of private equity firm Carlyle India. The new chairman may be relieved of the responsibility of running individual companies, but he or she will have to head a team of extraordinarily talented and able leaders. Not only will the heir have to ensure continuation of the group's growth momentum, but also provide the direction and vision for future growth. It's not an easy task. But then, nor was Tata's.

The amazing story of how Ratan Tata built an empire


Last updated on: October 21, 2010 08:19 IST Share this

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A shaky start

Left to himself, Ratan Tata would probably have stayed on in the United States after training as an architect at
Cornell University. But the son of deputy group chairman Naval Tata and the nephew of JRD Tata couldn't be allowed to work outside the group (he had an offer from IBM). In 1962, Ratan joined the family business, working on the Tata Steel shopfloor at Jamshedpur, just one of several thousand employees. He got his first independent assignment less than a decade later -- as director of National Radio and Electronics (Nelco), in 1971 -- but it was a mixed blessing. Nelco was in dire straits when Ratan came on board -- losses of 40% and barely 2% share of the consumer electronics market. Just when he turned it around, the Emergency was declared. A weak economy and labour issues compounded the problem and Nelco was quickly near collapse again. Ratan's next assignment was just as trouble-stricken. He was asked to turn around the sick Empress Mills. He did, but was refused the Rs 50 lakh (Rs 5 million) investment required to make the textile unit competitive. Empress Mills floundered and was finally closed in 1986 (by which time the infamous Mumbai textile workers' strike had also taken its toll). The two 'failures' haunted Ratan for decades. His track record was suspect, he was jinxed, said his baiters. "My first directorship was that of Nelco and the status of that company has forever been held against me. No one wanted to see that Nelco did become profitable, that it went from a 2% market share to a 25% market share," Tata said several years later.

The attacks became more vicious after 1981, when JRD stepped down as Tata Industries chairman, naming Ratan his successor -- in one leap, Ratan had moved to the head of the queue for eventual leadership of the entire Tata Group, and that was completely unacceptable to many. So much so, that at one Tata Sons meeting, when Nelco's losses were being blamed on Ratan (although he came to the company much later), JRD had to step in and deflect the criticism. Click NEXT to read on . . .

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