Venu Srinivasan, Ajay Piramal inducted as non-executive directors of Tata Sons


MUMBAI: Tata Sons, the holding company of the $103-billion diversified Tata conglomerate, expanded its board by inducting two of India’s prominent industrialists as non-executive directors.

Venu Srinivasan, chairman of TVS Motor, and Ajay Piramal, chairman of both the Piramal Group and Shriram Group, were appointed to the board on Thursday.

The salt-to-software conglomerate had in the past inducted several industrialists on the board of their blue-chip companies to gain from their experience and expertise. For several years, Aditya Vikram Birla was a member on the Tata Steel board, while his son Kumar Mangalam Birla too sat on the position later. In fact, Pilani Investments, the holding company of the Birla family, owned more stake in Tata Steel at one point than the Tata Group.

Bombay Dyeing founder Nusli Wadia is still a non-executive director of Tata Steel.

“Board members who have diverse industry experience are important for objective and unstructured way of thinking,” said Debashis Chatterjee, the dean of IIM-Lucknow. “They bring into play awareness and knowledge of ecology outside the group. So, even if these industrialists have similar businesses, it is fine because the talent pool is limited.”

Tata Sons is chaired by Cyrus Mistry, while Ratan Tata is its chairman-emeritus.

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Venu Srinivasan, Ajay Piramal inducted as non-executive directors of Tata Sons

Other members on the Tata Sons board include Harvard Business School dean of faculty Nitin Nohria, former defence secretary Vijay Singh, Ronen Sen, Farida Khambata and Ishaat Hussain, who took over as finance director in July 2000.

Hussain has also been a director of several Tata companies, including Tata Industries and Tata Steel. He is the chairman of Voltas and Tata Sky.

India’s largest diversified group is looking to tap the experience of Venu Srinivasan, who has built one of the nation’s largest two-wheeler businesses.

Ajay Piramal has successfully built and sold a drug empire and is now building a financial services empire.