Barely after a month Noel N. Tata, 53, was appointed as the chairman of Tata Investment Corporation, he has stepped down from being the managing director of Trent Ltd and take charge of Tata International, the global trading arm of the group that exports goods to over 100 countries.
"Noel N. Tata, with effect from August 12, 2010 will step down from his position as managing director of the company (Trent), as he is to be appointed as the managing director of Tata International Ltd," a company statement said. He will continue as non-executive vice chairman of Trent.
While talks of a successor to Ratan Tata have been doing the rounds as he is two years away from his retirement age of 75, corporate observers see these moves as likelihood of Noel preparing to get into the shoes of Ratan, for which this is an easy way.
"Making him head Tata International is a forward looking step," an industry analyst said. "The group is going more international and this move may prepare Noel to take up the big job. Trends are emerging and with a big international presence that the group plans, he may be inducted on the board of Tata Sons before he takes up the chairmanship." Tata Group veteran J.J. Irani, currently a director on Tata Sons --- the holding company of the Tata Group --- will turn 75 next year and may retire, thus opening the slot for Noel to be inducted on the board. In a year from then, in 2012, when Ratan Tata hits 75, Noel may take up as the chairman of the group.
"Even Ratan Tata did not run a have a high profile company till he took over as the chairman and these are small moves towards the big chair," another corporate watcher said.
"We have no comments to offer at this point of time," a Tata Sons spokesperson told HT.
There has been a sudden movement in ranks for Noel Tata within the group over the past one month. In June 2010, he was appointed as the chairman of Tata Investments that has significant investments in group companies including Indian Hotels, Titan, and Tata Chemicals.