Noel Tata – the prodigy son of TATA Family

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Noel Tata, trustee and half-brother of Ratan Tata, may be inducted as Director on the board of Tata Sons. Reports say discussions on appointing Noel on board of Tata Sons have intensified, however, a final decision is yet to be made. According to the Hindu BusinessLine, this could be a part of a restructuring plan.

About Noel Tata 

Noel Naval Tata, 63, is the chairman of Trent and Tata Investment Corporation. He is also the managing director of Tata International and the vice-chairman of Titan Company. Noel, Ratan Tata’s half-brother and a trustee at Sir Ratan Tata Trust, is likely to be inducted as Director at the board of Tata Sons. The development has come after Sir Ratan Tata Trust, the second biggest trust of Tata Trusts after Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, appointed Noel Tata as trustee in 2019.

Noel Tata is married to Aloo Mistry, the daughter of Pallonji Mistry, who is the largest single shareholder in Tata Sons — Tata Group’s holding company and father of Cyrus Mistry.

According to Times of India, a person close to Tatas has also confirmed that Noel Tata’s appointment in Tata Sons was being seriously considered.


Ratan is the son of Soonoo and Naval Hormusji Tata. He is the great-grandson of Tata group founder Jamshed Tata. Noel, Ratan’s half-brother, is the son of Naval and Simone Tata.

Ratan is a bachelor. Noel is married to Aloo Mistry, daughter of Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, the single largest shareholder in Tata Sons outside of the trusts.

Noel will be around the same age as Ratan Tata if and when he takes over the mantle at Bombay House. Ratan Tata was 54 in 1991, Noel will be 55 in 2012-13.

The beginnings of the two siblings in the corporate world have also been distinct. While RNT’s first two ventures, Nelco and Empress Mills, stuttered to life under him but bombed ultimately, Noel on the other hand developed and nurtured Tata’s retail arm, Trent, which owns Westside, making it a profitable venture.

Though he prefers to remain in the background himself, Noel ‘s career graph has soared throughout the party. He began his career with Tata International, was recently announced to take over as the managing director of the company along with being appointed as the chairman of Tata Investments in June this year. 

Noel Tata – his journey towards Success

Noel Tata started off his journey with Tata International, Tata Group’s wing responsible for offering products and services offered abroad. He took over as the managing director of Tata Group’s retail arm Trent, in June 1999, which was founded by his mother.

Trent acquired department store Littlewoods International which was renamed Westside. Noel Tata was appointed as the director of Titan Industries and Voltas in 2003.

Noel Tata during 2010-2011, was being expected to become managing director of Tata International, raised speculation that he was being groomed to succeed Ratan Tata but in 2011 his brother-in-law Cyrus Mistry was announced as the successor to Ratan Tata.

In 2018, Noel Tata was appointed as vice-chairman of Titan Company and inducted as trustee into the board of the Sir Ratan Tata Trust in February 2019.

Noel Tata – His achievements

In 1998, Trent took over the business of UK based company – Littlewoods International (India) Pvt. Ltd. The Littlewoods store was renamed Westside and Mr. Tata has overseen the growth of Westside, and other Trent formats, from this one store operation in 1998 to over a hundred stores in 2012. Trent ‘s combined revenue went up from Rs. 8.2 Cr. Around Rs. 1900 Cr. Throughout the timeframe.

Westside today is a chain of 67 department stores scattered throughout the world. With the opening of the first hypermarket in 2004, Star Bazaar, Trent joined the food and grocers retail sector. Today it sells premium goods in 15 stores around the nation at fair prices. Trent acquired Landmark in 2005, a leisure and family entertainment store chain which currently operates 17 stores across the country. Trent has now negotiated a franchise and wholesale sourcing deal with Tesco for the Star Bazaar brand, giving Trent exposure to Tesco ‘s vast distribution experience and technological capabilities. Trent and Inditex have a joint partnership to carry Zara, Massimo Dutti, and their other labels to India. Trent is establishing its presence in all major apparel market segments and is acknowledged to be one of the leading, nationally organized retailers in India.

Having led Trent as Managing Director for more than 11 years, Mr. N N Tata was appointed the Vice-Chairman of Trent Limited and took over as Managing Director of Tata International Limited in August 2010.

Tata Sons at present have 8 directors

Tata Sons, the main investment company, at present have 8 directors. The composition of directors follows as:

  • N Chandrasekaran — Executive Chairman
  • Farida Khambata — Former member of IFC’s management group
  • Venu Srinivasan — Chairman and Managing Director of TVS Group
  • Ajay Piramal — Chairman of Piramal and Shriram groups
  • Ralf Speth — CEO of Jaguar Land Rover
  • Bhaskar Bhat — Former Titan CEO
  • Harish Manwani — Former group chairman of Unilever 
  • Saurabh Agrawal — Tata Sons group CFO

Representation of a community

Noel’s entry coincides with the exit of managing trustee, R Venkataramanan, after five years of overseeing the Trusts’ operations, although rumor has it that Noel was and is being groomed to succeed his half-brother Ratan Tata as chairman of the Tata Trusts, ever since he took on key roles in several of the company’s verticals.

Speculation about Noel’s entry was gathering momentum especially as the Parsi community began to vocally endorse the idea of a Tata family member to help the Trust, especially after courting controversies over numerous tax law violations recently, which ended in Venkataraman’s resignation.

This also followed a historic decision last December, when the Trusts appointed TVS Group Chairman Venu Srinivasan and former defense secretary Vijay Singh as vice-chairmen of the seven public charitable bodies under its fold. This marked the first time that non-Tata, non-Parsi members have been given leadership roles at the Trusts.

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