On August 5, Tata Sons announced that it had set up a panel to search for Ratan Tata’s successor. Ratan Tata, who took charge from J.R.D. Tata in 1991, has been instrumental for the significant growth of Tata Group. It will be a 5 member panel consisting of one outside the Tata Group. The panel will decide on the successor by February 2011 and Ratan Tata would mentor him for six to eight months. The Tatas are also open to non-Tatas taking charge of the country‟s second largest conglomerate.
The move is made at the right time when Ratan Tata has significant achievements like acquisition of Corus Steel & Jaguar and also rolling out of the most cost-effective (I wouldn’t call it cheapest) car in the world, in his kitty. Now as the Tata Group goes global, it is important for it to have a person with global exposure, who can understand and exploit Globalization, to lead the Group. Besides, the Group’s policy requires Ratan Tata, who is 72 now, to retire in the next three years.
Ratan Tata was identified by J.R.D. Tata in 1962 and it took Ratan Tata, 29 years to reach the top with continuous mentoring from J.R.D. Tata, when Tata Group was a 100 Billion com-pany. But how this Group, which has grown to 3.3 Trillion, can be handed over to someone with just six to eight months of mentoring? Doesn’t that force the panel to look out for someone inside the Group?
Anyways, we hope the new leader brings success and charm to the Tata, as much as Ratan Tata did, if not more
Update on Apr 6, 2011: “We cannot find a replacement for (Ratan) Tata!”, says Tata Sons Director and one of the members of the search committee R K Krishna Kumar. The panel looking to lower the benchmark.