Successor will be pro-growth, not pro-Parsi: Ratan Tata

Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata said on Monday that his successor would be neither anti-Parsi nor pro-Parsi. ''We are an Indian group and not a Parsi group. My successor will be the right person,'' Tata asserted, while addressing shareholders of Tata Chemicals annual general meeting in Mumbai.

Ratan TataQuizzed by shareholders of Tata Chemicals at its Annual General Meeting here on Monday, whether a "Parsi, Indian or a foreigner" would occupy the corner office, Tata said, "The Tata group is an Indian group and we should not be looking (at it) as a Parsi group."

This is the first time Tata has spoken on the succession issue since the formation of the five-member panel to choose his successor.

In response to a sharheholder's comment, Tata observed, ''The committee members are as concerned as you are to make sure that the company will remain in good hands.'' There was no reason, the chairman said, to pre-judge anything till the committee came up with a candidate. ''That's not a fair way to do anything. Please be patient and you will know in due course. The company will be in the right hands.''

Tata, who is due to retire in December 2012, also explained that he had decided not to be part of the selection committee to pick his successor as he did not want to interfere in the process. The committee would take the decision, he said.

The head of the $71-billion conglomerate said he had put in place the process for selecting the head of the group through the mechanism of the panel nearly 10 years ago. Tata, who has been group chairman for about two decades now, also criticised the media for indulging in unnecessary speculation.