Tatas pick Nirmalya Kumar for its GEC

Emphasis on youth to target next generation.

By R Chandrasekaran

CHENNAI: The $100 billion Tata Group’s Tata Sons has picked up Nirmalya Kumar as a member for its group executive council (GEC) for strategic and operational direction in their efforts to take the group to the next level of growth trajectory, which will aim undoubtedly at the next generation.

Tata Sons disclosed that Kumar will report to Cyrus Mistry, Tata Sons chairman, when he joins on August 1. He has been given the responsibility of strategizing at the group level besides lending his experience in customer centricity as top priority among the group companies.

Kumar has an MBA from Illinois University and Ph.D. in marketing from Northwestern University, apart from being a member of the Board of Governors of London Business School.

In May, Tata Sons announced the formation of a new GEC headed by Mistry to replace the group corporate center or GCC and the group executive office or GEO and assume the roles played by the two groups. At that time, Tata Sons had only named three members and more names were expected later.

While N.S. Rajan, who was with Ernst & Young, was assigned the strategic human resources function, Mukund Govind Rajan of Tata Sons handles brand, communication, corporate social responsibilities and ethics. Madhu Kannan, also from Tata Sons, is being entrusted with the responsibility of heading business development and public affairs.

Except N.S. Rajan, who is aged 51, others are in their 40s. This includes Cyrus too. The average age of the GEC could be only around 45 suggesting a potential longer tenure for the members.

The appointment of Kumar further strengthens the importance of youth that can take the group to the next level of growth phase. The company had earlier said that “The agenda of the GEC includes, inter alia, return on investment with a long-term perspective; support for and shaping of the agenda for philanthropy; preserving and enhancing the reputation of the Tata name; defining and driving a Tata way of working for group companies; and playing a proactive role so that the group fulfils its responsibility as a global corporate citizen.”

The mandate is quite clear, create long-term value to all stake holders through a well-crafted plan and execution. For this, the GEC could work in tandem with various group companies’ executive management.

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