India's $100 billion salt-to-software Tata conglomerate named veteran insider Natarajan Chandrasekaran as the new chairman of its holding company on Thursday, looking to soothe investors after a bruising public spat over the ouster of his predecessor.
Chandrasekaran, 53, currently chief executive of IT outsourcing giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India's most-valuable company with a market capitalization of $67 billion, will take over as Tata Sons executive chairman on Feb. 21, according to a company statement.
Tata Sons, the holding company in a business empire ranging from car maker Jaguar Land Rover and steel mills to aviation and salt pans, is embroiled in a legal battle with former chairman Cyrus Mistry, who was forced out in October.
It has convened an extraordinary general meeting on Feb. 6 to remove him as a director, which Mistry has challenged.
"The first thing for him to do will be to clean up the muck and get rid of all the ongoing court cases," said a Tata group insider who is close to Chandrasekaran, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"Second will be to win over the trust of other Tata executives. And the third will be to define the direction for the group."