Business

Tata Trusts CEO ‘retired’; Cyrus’s cousin named trustee


MUMBAI: Tata Trusts made changes to its leadership, with N Srinath stepping down as chief executive and Mehli Mistry, a confidant of the company. Ratan Tata and cousin of former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry, appointed as trustee of the public charity that controls Tata Group.
Srinath, who was brought in from Tata Teleservices to become the spearhead of the Tata Trusts, leaves the job after more than two and a half years at the helm. He will “retire according to his pension scheme”. His last date at Tata Trusts will be October 31st. Srinath turns 60 years old in July this year. A few months ago, when TOI asked if Srinath would step down as CEO when he reached the retirement age of 60, sources in the group said he has a five-year contract with Tata Trusts.
There is no clarity on who will replace Srinath at Tata Trusts but the organization’s investments will be overseen by trustees including chairman Ratan Tata and vice presidents. Vijay Singh and Venu Srinivasan.
Mehli Mistry, director of Meherji Pallonji Group, has been introduced as a trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and Sir Ratan Tata Trust —- the two main entities within the Tata Trusts and jointly own a majority stake in Tata Sons, the company that manages the $128 billion automotive to airline group.
M Pallonji Corporation, a business closely held between Mehli (62 years old) and his brother Pheroze (59), is logistics, industrial coatings, dredging and other businesses. A UK citizen, Mehli is related to Cyrus through his mother (Mehli and Cyrus’ mother are sisters). However, their relationship soured after Cyrus became president of the Tata Sons in 2012.
Mehli was also embroiled in a tussle between Ratan Tata and Cyrus after the latter was removed from his position as president at Tata Sons in 2016. Cyrus has alleged that Mehli received large profits due to his personal relationship. him with Ratan Tata. The Supreme Court then found no merit in those allegations. In addition to the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Sir Ratan Tata Trust, Mehli has been appointed a trustee of the Tata Education and Development Trust. Mehli is not a newcomer to the Tata Trusts as he has been a trustee of Tata Medical Center, which runs the cancer care hospital in Kolkata, since 2014.
Tata Trusts created a special CEO post for Srinath after trustee manager R Venkataramanan left the organization in 2019 amid tax scrutiny and other controversies. A mechanical engineer from IIT Madras and an MBA from IIM Calcutta, Srinath has spent her entire career at the Tata Group. He joined the Tata Administrative Service (TAS)—founded on the lines of the Indian Administrative Service—in 1986. Since then, he has held various roles within the group — executive assistant to Ratan Tata, former president of Tata Industries, CEO of Tata Telecom and MD of Tata Teleservices. In April 2020, he assumed the position of CEO of Tata Trusts.

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