Retirement age for Tata Group non-executive directors cut to 70

Tata Sons, the holding company of the $67.4-billion conglomerate, has cut the retirement age of non-executive directors from 75 years to 70.

This follows a suggestion by the search committee set up to recommend a successor to chairman Ratan Tata, who retires at the end of next year at age 75. The group had increased the retirement age of non-executive directors from 70 to 75 in 2005.

The committee, however, felt that non-executive directors above 70 could continue till the age of 75 to manage the transition. This means two directors of Tata Sons, R.K. Krishna Kumar (73), who is also the vice-chairman of Indian Hotels Company, and J.J. Irani (74), can continue till they reach the age of 75.

But most other senior directors of the group will have to retire within a few years on reaching the age of 70. These include Tata Sons directors Farrokh Kavarana, R. Gopalakrishnan, Ishaat Hussain and Arunkumar Gandhi, all of who are in their 60s.

There is no change in the retirement age of executive and whole-time directors, which remains at 65. Directors of other group companies who will also have to retire in a few years include Ravi Kant, vice-chairman, Tata Motors, B Muthuraman, vice-chairman, Tata Steel, and S Ramadorai (vice-chairman, TCS).

The five-member committee set up to find a successor to Tata includes Tata Sons directors Krishna Kumar and Cyrus Mistry; N.A. Soonawala, Shirin Bharucha and Kumar Bhattacharya. The committee is expected to name Tata's successor over the next two months. The new chairman will also have to retire at age 70.