Tata Trusts inducts Noel, Jehangir; Venkatarmanan quits as Managing Trustee

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Mumbai, Feb 14: Tata Trusts, a cluster of charitable organisations controlling 66 per cent of Tata Sons, the holding company of the group, announced a series of top-level changes after a crucial board meeting on Wednesday. The restructuring includes one exit and two fresh inductions into the trust.
R Venkataramanan (Venkat as he’s often called) stepped down as managing trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, while Noel N Tata, chairman of Trent and managing director of Tata International, and philanthropist Jehangir H C Jehangir have been brought in as trustees at the Sir Ratan Tata Trust.
The entry of 62-year-old Noel Tata, half brother of Ratan Tata, into Tata Trusts is being seen as a significant departure from the past within the salt-to-software conglomerate. Noel is also brother-in-law of former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry. Although there has been much talk earlier about Noel’s likely entry into the Trusts, it had so far proved to be a false alarm. Before Mistry took charge as chairman at Tata Sons, Noel’s name had done the rounds as a contender too. Shy and low-profile Noel, seen as a contrarian in personal life and in business, has focused on Trent’s profitability over scale, that other retail chains chased. Observers believe it’s that trait which may take him places in future. At Tata Trusts, sources said he may be inducted into other trusts under its fold as well in the months to come.
The second trustee to be inducted, Jehangir, 65, is currently overseeing the health care mission at Jehangir Hospital, Pune, as chairman. Hailing from a Parsi business family, Jehangir, who’s on the board of several other companies, is a long-standing philanthropist. He’s expected to add heft to Tata Trusts, according to people in the know.
While the new appointments made news, it was Venkat’s resignation that was being watched by who’s who of India Inc. Considered a Ratan Tata loyalist, Venkat had risen from the ranks and had assumed a position of power, managing all the trusts.
A recent order from the income-tax department had however put a question mark on his current role. The I-T department denied tax exemption to Dorabji Tata Trust, the biggest under the Tata Trusts umbrella, over high compensation of the managing trustee.
The statement issued by Tata Trusts, chaired by Ratan Tata, on Wednesday just said Venkat had stepped down from his role following completion of a five-year term. He will relinquish responsibilities as managing trustee on March 31.