The $103-billion Tata group has selected Rajiv Sabharwal
to be the chief executive officer of Tata Capital
and head the group’s retail financial services foray, said sources in the Tata group. Sabharwal, currently a partner with PE firm
True North Managers, has over 26 years’ experience in the financial sector and was executive director on ICICI Bank’s board till January 2017.
When contacted, a Tata Sons spokesperson refused to comment. Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran
is looking at making Tata Capital
a retail financial services powerhouse. The group’s financial services business includes retail lending, mutual funds (MFs) and insurance, among others.
The financial services cluster has the closely-held Tata Capital
and four other companies
— Tata AIA Life Insurance, Tata AIA General Insurance, Tata Asset Management, and Tata Investment Corporation.
Sabharwal, a graduate from IIM Lucknow and a mechanical engineer from IIT Delhi, has his task cut out. Tata Sons’ financial ventures haven’t been among the top performers in most of the businesses they operate in. The MF business, with average assets under management of around Rs 42,000 crore (June-end), was at 13th position. In comparison, Aditya Birla Sun Life MF and Reliance MF have four times the assets. In life insurance, Tata AIA Life Insurance’s first year premiums were a third of Birla Sun Life’s and less than half of Reliance Nippon’s. Tata Capital
had a book size of Rs 51,847 crore in 2016-17, with total income of Rs 6,324 crore and net profit of Rs 460 crore.
Sabharwal has been credited for being the brain behind the country's largest sector lender, ICICI Bank's retail reach. He earned his spurs by building its retail assets and rural finance business. His first stint with the bank was from 1998-2008. Then, between 2009 and 2010, he joined Sequoia Capital as executive director. In 2010, he returned to ICICI Bank to head the retail business.
In an interview to a TV channel, Ratan Tata, former Tata Sons chairman and current Tata Trusts chairman, hinted at consolidation and possible divestments of certain businesses. "Some group companies
will die and the new ones will be born," he had said.