The Hindu Business Line

Ratan Tata plays down talk of exit from Tata Trusts

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Ratan Tata has played down reports on Friday that he would step down soon as chairman of Tata Trusts,the largest shareholde­r in the Tata conglomera­te's holding company.

In a report, a newspaper cited a Tata aide, RK Krishna Kumar, as saying the group was preparing for Tata to step down from the Trusts next year after two decades. It said an external consultant had been asked to advise on the selection process for a successor.

In a statement, Tata Sons said there were “no plans for (Ratan Tata) stepping down from the chairmansh­ip of the Tata Trusts at this point in time.” It said it would put in place a process for a “smooth succession at an appropriat­e time.”

Ratan Tata and the charities that make up the Trusts have been at the heart of a public dispute with Cyrus Mistry, who was dismissed as chairman of Tata Sons in October.

Two trustees of the Tata Trusts - public charities that own 66 per cent of Tata Sons told Reuters that a change was being considered, but said there was no timeline, and no external advisor had been retained.

Krishna Kumar told Reuters that talk about succession began before the current row with Mistry, adding there was “no question of an external firm being consulted.”

VR Mehta, a trustee on the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, one of several Trusts, also played down talk of Tata's departure,calling it “fairly premature".

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