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N. Chandrasekaran says he will focus on three strategic priorities as Tata Sons chief

LiveMint logoLiveMint 21-02-2017 Shally Seth

Mumbai: N. Chandrasekaran, Tata Group’s newly appointed chairman, presided the first Tata Sons Ltd board meeting on Tuesday. Ahead of the meeting in South Mumbai-based group’s headquarter, Chandrasekaran outlined his three strategic priorities for the group—to bring the group closer together to leverage its enormous collective strength, reinforce a leader’s mindset among the operating companies and drive world-class operating performances across the group; bring greater rigour to the group’s capital allocation policies; and deliver superior returns to its shareholders.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues, the management teams and the boards of the companies towards achieving these goals,” he said.

Also Read: N. Chandrasekaran takes charge as Tata Sons chairman

The priorities outlined by the new chairman to steer the $103 billion group indicates that Chandra, as he is known, is aiming to first address the core issues which culminated in a boardroom putsch of 24 October and led to the ouster of Cyrus P. Mistry. Tata Sons, in a 10 November statement, alleged that under Mistry, the edifice of the group founded in 1868 had been consciously dismantled, resulting in operating companies drifting away from the promoter company and their shareholders.

With the exception of Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), dividends received from all 40 other firms (many non-dividend paying) in its portfolio have continuously declined from Rs1,000 crore in 2012-13 to Rs780 crore in 2015-16 but the latter figure includes additional interim dividend of Rs100 crore which would have been normally received in 2016-17 (due to budgetary changes), it said, adding that in the past four years, the group’s debt had increased by Rs69,877 crore to over Rs2.25 trillion.

Also Read: N. Chandrasekaran taking Tata helm as challenges loom from steel to hotels

Chandra’s maiden board meeting as chairman of Tata Sons follows his appointment as chairman of group operating companies, including Tata Power Co. Ltd, Tata Motors Ltd, Tata Steel Ltd and TCS, where he was chief executive from 2009 to 2017. Ratan N. Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, said: “I welcome Chandra, who has successfully displayed his leadership in his career at Tata Consultancy Services. I am sure he will bring considerable value to his leadership role in the Tata group in the years ahead.”

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