It was at the TCS House in Fort, Mumbai, that word got out on Wednesday evening that Chief Executive Officer N Chandrasekaran would be named the chairman of the holding company, Tata Sons. A meeting held at the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) headquarters to finalise Chandrasekaran’s successor at the information technology firm gave enough hints to employees that a change was in the offing, it has been learnt. The word spread fast as it was also a day before TCS’ third quarter results, with activities at a peak.
A few hours later, at the Bombay House, not too far from the TCS headquarters, Tata Sons directors met in a hurriedly called board meeting on Thursday evening to seal Chandrasekaran’s appointment as the chief of the conglomerate. The meeting, kept under wraps, had the chairman’s appointment as an agenda, it has been learnt. Cyrus Mistry, who was replaced as the chairman of Tata Sons on October 24 but still remains a director on the board, was not present at the meeting.
While nobody could explain the timing and urgency of the decision, at least 45 days ahead of the deadline, another aspect in the selection process remained unsaid. The identity of the people who were in the race for the top job was not revealed, not even to those who gave the final approval to Chandrasekaran’s appointment.
Only the five-member search committee, comprising interim chairman Ratan Tata, TVS Group ChairmanVenu Srinivasan, Bain Capital’s Amit Chandra, Ronen Sen and Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya knew the names who did not eventually make it as the chairman. It is believed that those in the short list did not want their names to be out.
Although there was buzz about a vice-chairman being named at Tata Sons, the group did not take any such decision.
At TCS, there were two appointments. Besides Rajesh Gopinathan being made the CEO, banking head N G Subramaniam, Chandrasekaran’s brother, was chosen as the president and chief operating officer (COO). Sources said S Ramadorai, the former chief at TCS, was a key advisor for the selection of the company’s new leadership.
Both Gopinathan and Subramaniam were seen as TCS loyalists, who could lead the company in the years to come, sources said.