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Tata Group continues hunt for successor

By Rashmi Kumar

India’s Tata Group is making progress in its hunt for a successor to chairman Ratan Tata, according to a report in Indian newspaper Business Standard.

The report said that the five-member panel appointed to find a suitable successor has shortlisted 11 candidates, of which four to five are employees within the group. When contacted, Tata Group refused to confirm this information.

In a statement issued by the family-controlled conglomerate on 18 May, the group said that the panel was engaged in its task to find a replacement.

“It (the panel) has interviewed both internal and external candidates. It would be premature to share any details of the progress of its endeavours except to state that the committee is fully aware of the relevant time line.”

A recent interview with a panellist, published on Tata Group’s website, suggested that the committee was struggling to find a candidate to match Ratan Tata, who transformed the conglomerate from a $6 billion company in 1991 to one with revenues close to $70 billion in 2010 (Continue reading here). The panel is expected to announce the successor by the end of May.

Seventy-three-year-old Ratan Tata is due to retire in December next year after he turns 75. Speculations about who will succeed him have been rife since the committee was set up in August 2010 – so far Tata’s half-brother Noel seems to be the front-runner to take over the helm of the company.

The Tata Group was founded in 1868 by Jamsedji Tata as a small company trading in cotton. Now in its fifth generation of ownership, the business has grown into a conglomerate that deals with everything ranging from steel and communication to finance and beverages.

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