New Tata chairman could steer group for 30 to 40 years

The Tata group, which is in the process of selecting a new chairman to replace Ratan Tata, is keen that the person remains at the helm for a period of 30 to 40 years, said a top group executive.
 
And considering the fact that Tata Sons, the holding company of the $67.4 billion group, has cut the retirement age of non-executive directors from 75 years to 70 (See: Retirement age for Tata Group non-executive directors cut to 70), it would mean that the new chairman would be in the age group of 30 to 40.
 
''We think the next leadership is not for five years, but he will be there for 30 to 40 years,'' R. Gopalakrishnan, director, Tata Sons, told PTI. A five-member committee is selecting a successor to Tata, who will be retiring at the end of 2012 when he turns 75.
 
Ratan Tata is only the fifth chairman of the group, which was founded in 1868 by Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, who was then just 29. Sir Dorab Tata, the eldest son of Jamsetji Tata, became the chairman of the group after his father's death in 1904. After his death in 1934, Nowroji Saklatwala headed the group for four years.
 
He was succeeded by Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (the legendary JRD), who steered the group over the following 53 years. Ratan Tata, who took over as chairman in 1991, has been responsible for the globalisation of the group.

Group companies including Tata Steel, Tata Motors and Tata Chemicals have aggressively expanded their global footprint by acquiring leading companies (Corus Steel, Jaguar Land Rover and Brunner Mond group) in their respective industries.
 
Over the last 10 years, the Tata group turnover has shot up from Rs.38,607 crore to Rs.3,19,534 crore. About half of its turnover is from overseas operations.
 
Consequently, the group has not restricted its search for a successor to the chairman to just India. There have been reports that the next chairman could well be an expatriate. Many of the senior executives of group companies are non-Indians today.