Bye Bombay House! Hello Elphinstone!

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 27, 2012 22:47 IST

After multiplying his group's revenues by nearly 50 times since he took charge in 1991 and then having ensured a smooth transition to his successor, Ratan Tata is preparing a life outside of Bombay House, the iconic headquarters of Tata Sons.

And indications are that he will pursue philanthropy and arts.

A recent Tata Sons statement said  Ratan Tata will serve as honorary "Chairman Emeritus," without specifying his exact role.

Industry watchers said Tata appears to have acquired a larger than life stature within the group. He will continue to head the two trusts - Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Sir Dorabji Tata Trust - that together control 66% of the equity of Tata Sons, which in turn is the holding company of Tata Group.

The trust constitution mandates that trust chairmen occupy the position for life.

"It was a similar situation in 1991 when Ratan Tata took over as chairman of Tata Sons and JRD Tata remained chairman of the trusts," said a corporate lawyer, who did not wish to be identified.

""I don't want to say I will have a large influence over the group. I think I would have to wear a different hat of being the major shareholder. The same kind of view that a shareholder might have, not a chairman's view of the company," Tata had told PTI in a recent interview.

"I should not be involved in the business of the company or how the company goes about its growth. But at the same time I should be concerned about the return I get on my shares because it is the only income that the trusts have."

The dividend from Tata Sons is to be distributed for charity by the trusts. "So I should protect that," he said in the interview to PTI.

Tata is expected to shift his residence to the Elphinstone building, located very close to Bombay House from where he is likely to oversee the numerous philanthropic activities of the two trusts.


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