Mumbai: R Venkataramanan, the managing trustee of the Tata Trusts, a string of non-profits that own 66% of the diversified Tata Sons, has resigned.
In another significant development, Ratan Tata’s half brother Noel Tata has been appointed the trustee of Sir Ratan Tata Trust, the second largest among the dozen-odd charities that make up the Tata Trusts.
Venkataramanan’s ₹2.66-crore annual compensation was under the scanner of the income tax department and led to the withdrawal of tax exemption to Sir Dorabji Tata Trust — the largest of them all — in December 2018.
Speculation is rife that Venkat, as Venkataramanan is popularly known, may shift to London in some new role within the Tata group.
Considered very close to Ratan Tata, the group patriarch and the chairman of the Tata Trusts, Venkat is also under the scanner in a money laundering case involving AirAsia India, which is currently being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The low-cost AirAsia India is a 51:49 joint venture between the Tatas and the Malaysian airline group AirAsia.
“Venkataramanan had informed the chairman and the trustees of the Tata Trusts that he had been considering other options, given that he was completing five years as the executive trustee/ managing trustee, and sought to be relieved,” the Tata Trusts said in an official statement on Wednesday, adding that the managing trustees “regretfully accepted” the request.
He will relinquish from the trusts on March 31, the statement said.
A committee of trustees, comprising Ratan Tata, and vice-chairmen Vijay Singh and Venu Srinivasan, has been set up to oversee the operations and select a new chief executive, it said.
The trustees also placed on record Venkat’s contribution in “steering and executing the objectives” of the trusts’ portfolios over the last five years.
In addition to the interventions through grants, the Tata Trusts also pursues large-scale programmes through direct implementation and partnerships with many states and foundations, it said.
Noel Tata is the chairman of the group’s retail arm Trent and also the managing director of Tata International, the group arm that scouts for new business opportunities outside the country.
He has been appointed as the trustee of Sir Ratan Tata Trust along with Jehangir HC, who is currently spearheading the healthcare mission at the Jehangir Hospital, Pune, the statement said.
Speculation about Venkat’s resignation was rife since last Friday, following the I-T order. There were reports about some trustees not happy with Venkat’s high compensation of ₹2.66 crore.
Some of the trustees were also critical of the allegations relating to the income tax order that withdrew tax exemptions to the trusts, sources said.
The Dorabji Tata Trust has appealed against the I-T order.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed