Setting in motion a generational change in the top leadership at India’s biggest conglomerate, Tata group chairman Cyrus Mistry on Tuesday announced the formation of a new group executive council (GEC), indicating that Ratan Tata’s heir wants a team that will respond to a challenging new economic environment.
The revamp is unusual because not quite often does the Tata group look beyond its in-house pool of 450,000-plus employees for top posts — the new council has two outside appointees. The group legendary chief financial officer Ishaat Hussain, who has moved to a non-executive post since his superannuating, is also likely to be replaced by somebody from outside.
The setting up of the GEC, replacing both the existing group corporate centre and the group executive office, in a company that is into virtually everything — from steel to software to luxury cars to salt — is also being seen as Mistry’s move to set up a team of his choice, after taking over from Ratan Tata last December, the group’s venerated former chairman.
Mistry will chair the GEC.
Other members of the council include NS Rajan who has moved in from Ernst & Young as Tata Sons’ new group chief human resources officer; Mukund Govind Rajan, who will oversee the Tata brand, communication, ethics and corporate social responsibility, and former-BSE chief Madhu Kannan, who will head business development and public affairs.
“A few more people will join the GEC, including one for the finance role,” a Tata Sons spokesperson told HT.
The Tata group, with $100 billion (R475,721 crore) revenues in 2011-12, usually relies on its home-bred cadre of management professionals.
The objective of the GEC is to provide strategic and operational support to the group chairman, Tata Sons said in a statement, adding that the mandate of the council is to “own and drive the delivery of the core purpose of Tata Sons, which is long-term value creation for stakeholders.”
“The agenda of the GEC includes return on investment with a long-term perspective; support for and shaping of the agenda for philanthropy; preserving and enhancing the reputation of the Tata name; defining and driving a Tata way of working for group firms; and playing a proactive role so that the group fulfils its responsibility as a global corporate citizen," the statement said.