Tata Sons today named TCS Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director N. Chandrasekaran as its new Chairman, over two months after the unceremonious sacking of Cyrus Mistry.
Popularly known as 'Chandra', the 54-year-old was chosen to step into the shoes of interim Chairman Ratan Tata, who took over on October 24 last year after the removal of Mistry. The decision to appoint Chandra, a Tata Group veteran, was taken at a meeting of the Tata Sons board, sources said.
The decision followed a five-member search committee comprising Ratan Tata, TVS Group head Venu Srinivasan, Amit Chandra of Bain Capital, former diplomat Ronen Sen and Lord Kumar Bhattacharya zeroing in on Chandrasekaran.
Chandrasekaran has been heading the Tata group's 'crown jewel', software firm TCS, since 2009. He was appointed as a Director on the board of Tata Sons on October 25, 2016, a day after Mistry's removal. The search panel was given four months to find the new head of the promoter company of the major operating firms of the $103 billion salt-to-software conglomerate, but the decision has been reached well within that deadline.
Chandrasekaran's appointment as Tata Sons Chairman comes at a time when the company is fighting a legal battle at the National Company Law Tribunal with Mistry, who has challenged his ouster.
Yesterday, two Mistry family-owned investment firms had filed a contempt application at the NCLT against the move by Tata Sons to remove him as director, and sought an order to restrain the company from going ahead with its planned EGM on February 6, called to remove him.
In one of the biggest boardroom battles in the history of India Inc., the Tata Sons board had removed Mistry as Chairman citing loss of faith in his leadership and the good of the future of the group, while his predecessor Ratan Tata was brought back as an interim Chairman. Mistry, on the other hand, had alleged that Tata and other trustees of the Tata Trusts ran an alternate power centre, and that he was reduced to a "lame duck Chairman". Chandrasekaran had joined TCS in 1987 after completing his Masters in Computer Applications from Regional Engineering College, Trichy, Tamil Nadu.
Under his leadership, TCS generated consolidated revenues of $16.5 billion in 2015-16. The company remains the most valuable company in India as of 2015-16, with a market capitalisation of over $70 billion.
An avid photographer, he is also a passionate long-distance runner, and has completed several marathons around the world, including in Amsterdam, Boston, Chicago, Berlin, Mumbai, New York, Prague, Stockholm, Salzburg and Tokyo.