Undeterred by a global downturn and with an eye firmly on the future, the Tatas have stepped up their leadership grooming.
The elite Tata Administrative Service (TAS) long seen as the systematic breeding ground for CEOs, has 40 entrants this year, against the usual 25.
These future leaders, most of who are below 30, have been handpicked from institutes including the Indian Institutes of Management.
“We are investing in future leaders, which does not really depend on whether we are in a downturn or not,” Rajesh Kumar Dahiya, vice-president, Tata Services, told Hindustan Times.
The step comes as the Tata Group embarks upon a new focus for the coming decade. Starting 2011, the Tata Group is going to focus on “innovation capabilities,” said R Gopalakrishnan, executive director, Tata Sons. Groupwise focus shifts every 10 years at Tata. In the 1990s, the focus was on “cost and capabilities.”
In the current decade, the focus was on going multinational—and true to the objective, Tata Steel acquired Anglo-Dutch Corus Group and Tata Motors bagged Jaguar Land Rover, while Tata Tea is now a global beverage conglomeration.
Executives at TAS undergo intensive training that includes up to four different projects and assignments in four different Tata Group companies in varied roles, after which they are deputed to group companies of choice.