R Venkataramanan to step down as Tata Trusts managing trustee
14 February 2019
R Venkataramanan, managing trustee of Tata Trusts that controls about two-thirds of Tata Group’s parent, will step down by March 31 at the end of his five-year term.
In another significant development, Ratan Tata's half brother Noel Tata has been appointed as a trustee of the Sir Ratan Tata Trust, in a move to ensure continued association of the family with the philanthropic body that controls the Tata Group.
Tata Trusts, a string of non-profit organisations, owns 66 per cent of the diversified Tata Sons. Sir Ratan Tata Trust is the second largest among the dozen-odd charities that make up the Tata Trusts.
Venkataramanan, embroiled in a tax row over his remuneration and under the scanner of the investigating agencies, had informed the chairman and trustees that he was considering other options, according to a media statement by by Tata Trusts. The trustees, at a meeting on Wednesday, accepted his request to be relieved.
A committee comprising Tata Trusts chairman Ratan Tata, and vice chairmen Vijay Singh and Venu Srinivasan will oversee operations and find a new chief executive.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) last year named Venkataramanan in a probe alleging that he bribed unnamed government officials to obtain a flying permit for AirAsia India where he was a director. His name had also cropped up in a letter by Cyrus Mistry, who was unceremoniously removed as chairman of Tata Sons in 2016. Venkataramanan had denied the allegations.
The statement further said the trustees also appointed Noel N Tata, Chairman of Trent Ltd. and Managing Director of Tata International, and Jehangir HC Jehangir, a philanthropist who is currently "spearheading" the healthcare mission at Jehangir Hospital, Pune, as trustees of Sir Ratan Tata Trust.
Noel Tata is the chairman of the group's retail arm Trent and also the managing director of Tata International, that group arm that scouts for new business opportunities outside the country.
The trustees also placed on record Venkat's contribution in "steering and executing the objectives" of the trusts' portfolios over the last five years. In addition to the interventions through grants, the Tata Trusts also pursues large-scale programmes through direct implementation and partnerships with many states and foundations, it said.