Chandrasekaran is chief of Tata Sons

Chandrasekaran is chief of Tata Sons

Ending two months of speculation, Tata Sons appointed Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) managing director and chief executive officer N Chandrasekaran as Executive Chairman following unanimous recommendation of the selection committee.

The board of directors of Tata Sons, at its meeting, appointed N Chandrasekaran (53) as the executive chairman. Chandrasekaran will take charge on February 21.

With this appointment, Tata Sons, the holding company of the $100 billion salt-to-software Tata Group has for the first time brought in a non-Parsi as its executive chairman of the 150-year old Tata Group.

Popularly known as Chandra, he joined the company in 1987 after completing Masters in Computer Applications from Regional Engineering College, Trichy, Tamil Nadu. He has been holding the position of CEO and MD of TCS since 2009. Chandrasekaran was appointed as a director on the board of Tata Sons on October 25, 2016.

Chandrasekaran has served as the Chairperson of the IT Industry Governors’ at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Davos in 2015-16.

Chandra has been playing an active role in the Indo – US and India-UK CEO Forums. He is also part of India’s business taskforces for Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan and Malaysia. He served as the chairman of Nasscom, the apex trade body for IT services firms in India in 2012-13 and continues to be a member of its governing Executive Council.He was also appointed as a director on the board of India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India in 2016.

At TCS, Chandrasekaran would be succeeded by Rajesh Gopinathan, currently the company's chief financial officer. Following the ouster of Cyrus Mistry, Tata Sons had named Ratan N Tata as the interim chairman on October 24, 2016. The board of directors had also constituted a selection committee consisting of Ratan N Tata, Venu Srinivasan, Amit Chandra, Ronen Sen and Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya to choose a new chairman within four months.

Surprises

The meeting to anoint Chandrasekaran too was full of surprises – like the way the October 24, 2016 meeting in which Cyrus Mistry was sacked. The board meeting was an unscheduled one. In fact, Chandrasekaran was to address the TCS press conference around 5 pm, but that briefing was rescheduled for 4 pm. After making his remarks, he rushed out. The board meeting commenced around 5.30 pm and it did not take much time to announce the selection of Chandrasekaran. Mistry, who is among the board of directors, however, was not present.

The appointment of Chandrasekaran comes at a time when the Tata Group is fighting a legal battle against Mistry in the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

A few firms owned by the Mistry family had filed an application in NCLT on Wednesday against the Tata Sons’ move to oust him as director and sought an order to restrain the company from conducting an extraordinary general meeting on February 6 to remove him.

“Chandrasekaran has demonstrated exemplary leadership as the chief executive officer and managing director of Tata Consultancy Services. 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 to the practices of the Tata Group which have stood it in good stead,” said the Tata Sons board of directors on Thursday.

In his first reaction post appointment, Chandrasekaran thanked the Tatas and also acknowledged the responsibilities of the job. “I am humbled and honoured to be chosen to lead a truly great institution that occupies a unique position in the hearts of the people in India and the world. I am proud to have been part of the Tata family for over 30 years and assuming this position is a great privilege,” Chandrasekaran said.

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