Noel Tata shed his executive responsibilities at the Tata Group earlier this month, having stepped down as the managing director of Tata International after turning 65, in line with the retirement policy for senior personnel.
The Tata Group mandates executive directors to retire from executive positions at 65 and from all board positions at 70. Noel Tata will continue to hold a non-executive post as chairman of
, Corp., Voltas and Tata International. He is also vice chairman of Titan.
Noel Tata didn’t respond to queries.
Noel Tata has been spearheading the group’s retail ventures under listed Trent Ltd, which owns the Westside, Zudio and Star Bazaar franchises, created from scratch under his stewardship.
The company also has a successful joint venture with Spanish retailer Inditex, the owner of the Zara and Massimo Dutti retail chains.
Up for Bigger Strategic Play
He’s slated to play a larger strategic role going forward across boards, including at Trent, Voltas and Titan, the executives said. He’s also likely to be more active at the Tata Trusts – he was nominated as a trustee in 2019.
“Executive or non-executive, let us not forget that he is a Tata. And that his future is bound to the group in many ways,” said a Tata insider.
Noel Tata has been credited with building Trent after taking charge as MD from mother Simone Tata in 1999. Its market value has jumped from Rs 3,600 crore in 2014 to Rs 40,000 crore now. Since taking charge of Voltas in 2000, market capitalisation has more than doubled from Rs 18,000 crore to more than Rs 40,000 crore.
“While Trent may not be the largest retail company, it is certainly one of the few profitable ones,” a top group executive said. “Known for his conservative approach to spends, Noel has always focused on return on capital as key to healthy business. Within the group, he is seen as a quiet builder and leader who does not overshadow his executive team.”
Noel Tata has kept a low profile, working in the background while attaining additional responsibilities such as being appointed vice chairman of Titan and being inducted on the board of the Sir Ratan Tata Trust, one of the two charitable trusts that control Tata Sons. He is also the half-brother of Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Trusts.
Trent has been among the country’s few profitable retail entities thanks to his measured approach to growth, say insiders. It’s been in expansion mode in the fashion segment since the pandemic. Under Noel Tata, Trent got noticed by investors on account of the growth in its retail network and profit track record. The Trent stock has been one of the outperformers in the Tata Group in recent years.
In 2010, he became the MD of Tata International, the company where he had started his career. Wife Aloo Mistry is the sister of Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of Tata Sons who was ousted in 2016.
Noel Tata may be eventually nominated to the board of Tata Son, similar to group veteran Bhaskar Bhat in 2017, after stepping down from executive roles, say group watchers.