Sources said Sanjay Dutt, currently chief executive at Ascendas-Singbridge, will head the vertical comprising realty and infrastructure. He will report into Banmali Agrawala, president, infrastructure, defence, and aerospace at Tata Sons.
Tata Sons, however, refused to comment.
The merger of the two entities, already in the works, will be concluded over the next three months, said a source.
Brotin Banerjee, managing director and chief executive of Tata Housing, resigned on February 7, citing personal reasons. One of the youngest CEOs in the group, Banerjee was credited for transforming Tata Housing
from a loss-making to a profit-making company.
“He (Chandrasekaran) is moving at a fast pace and concentrating on the scale and relevance of the group. When you grow bigger, you get better talent,” said a Tata group executive, referring to Chandra’s cluster approach.
“Whatever changes are happening — some people leaving, some joining — will bring in newer thinking, which is good for the group,” he added.
With a presence across all consumer segments, ranging from value to luxury housing, Tata Housing
has close to 70 million square feet of projects at various stages of development. It also has a pipeline of projects of 19 million square feet, according to the company’s website.
TRIL is a decade-old company, set up to pursue group’s interest in infrastructure and real estate projects. While Tata Housing
has focussed on residential projects, TRIL’s forte has been large-scale commercial projects, such as roads and highways.
Chandra will complete a year in office on February 21. He has been emphasising the need to consolidate the Tata group, which has over 100 companies. Defence and infrastructure is one of the several verticals identified by Chandra as he seeks to make the group companies more focused and agile, and drive growth under the “One Tata” approach. The other clusters include financial services, information technology, consumer-facing businesses, and travel and hospitality.
“Both Tata Housing
and TRIL are very big corporate entities in their own right. It’s like one plus one becoming three, if you were to merge housing and realty,” said Anuj Puri, chairman, Anarock Property Consultants.
Most of the other Indian developers, including Oberoi Realty, Godrej Properties, and Prestige Estate Projects do both residential and commercial projects, added Puri, pointing out that it offers synergy in the business network space — in human resource, legal, finance etc. Even on construction contracts, they get very large volumes.
“There was no reason for them to operate as different entities,” said another analyst.
In an interview published in the December 2017 edition of Tata Review, the group’s in-house magazine, Chandrasekaran said even as he is sharply focussed on returns and capital allocation, it does not mean the Tata group will exit a business that does not meet its targets.
“We will always work hard together to realise the potential of every Tata business. There will be times, though, when hard decisions are inevitable,” he said.