Tata Sons on Wednesday announced it has formed a five-member selection committee to decide on a suitable successor to Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata, who is due to retire in December 2012, when he would be 75 years old.
"The Board of Tata Sons Limited, in accordance with its Articles of Association, has formed a selection committee, comprising five members including an external member, for eventually deciding on a suitable successor to Ratan N. Tata," a Tata Sons statement said on Wednesday.
But according to a source close to the development, the chairmanship has already been decided in favour of Ratan's half-brother Noel Tata and the search is going to be for the group's No. 2 position.
"The search will actually be for a strong vice-chairman as Noel Tata is set to take over as chairman of the group, since the group wants only a Tata to replace Ratan Tata as chairman of the group," the source said on condition of anonymity.
When contacted, a Tata Group spokesperson declined to comment.
In the past two months, Noel Tata has taken two steps towards replacing Ratan when he retires.
Last month, Noel was appointed MD of Tata International; in the previous month, he was appointed chairman of Tata Investment Corporation. While Noel will cease to serve as MD of Trent, the group’s retail arm, he will continue as the company’s non-executive chairman.
The Tata Sons statement, which did not identify the five members, said the committee is formulating criteria to identify a suitable candidate who fits in the global nature and complexity of the group’s businesses and would consider people from both within the group and professionals within and outside India.