Next Tata group head may be an expatriate says Ratan Tata

Thursday, November 19, 2009, 14:44 by Business Editor

Ratan Tata, the head of India’s most respected Tata group, has said that the next successor to the Tata group empire could be an expatriate, Wall Street Journal has reported.

Photo: Ratan Tata

Photo: Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata, 71, told the newspaper in an interview that the possibility of a non-Indian taking over the entire Tata group cannot be ruled out.

According to the WSJ interview, Ratan Tata said 65% of the group’s revenues come from overseas sources.

Considering that fact, an expat taking over the Tata Group is not unthinkable, said Tata. Tata also said that things would have been easier if his successor was an Indian, as Tata is an Indian brand.

Ratan Tata, the man who currently leads the conglomerate, is due to retire in 2012. Tata wants to name a worthy successor to his throne before he retires.

Tata confirmed in the WSJ interview that they have already started searching for a suitable successor, and are looking for candidates from both inside and outside the company.

Ratan Tata had repeatedly said in the past that he would want to see a much younger face lead the group, and that he or she should be ideally in his or hers 40s.

Ratan Tata has also said in the past that he/she should get at least 18 months to two years as the designated successor before taking over the reins of the group. Earlier, possible contenders for the throne of Tata Group were considered to be Keki Dadiseth, Noel Tata, and Cyrus Mistry.

However, with Ratan Tata’s new interview with WSJ, it seems that the race is still very much on and other names apart from those mentioned could yet surface.

The Tata Group, which was set up in 1868, has annual revenues of USD 71billion and employees 37,000 workers. Though the Tata Group has always been a

Tata-company, it has once been led by someone outside the Tata family. Sir Nowroji Saklatvala started with the group as a clerk in 1899 and ended up heading the Tata Group.

The single larget stakeholder in Tata Sons, which is Tata Group’s holding company, is Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry. Mistry has an 18% stake in the company and is now settled in Ireland. His son, Cyrus Mistry, is on the board of directors of Tata Sons.

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