Ratan Tata, the interim chief of the Tata conglomerate, will not step down as chairman of Tata Trusts.
Dismissing speculation in this regard, Tata Sons, the holding company of the $100bn business empire, clarified that Ratan Tata will continue to lead the country's largest corporate group until a new head is appointed.
"Further to news reports that have appeared in the media, Mr Ratan Tata, interim chairman, clarified that there are no plans for his stepping down from the chairmanship of the Tata Trusts at this point in time," said a press statement issued by the trust.
The Times of India and its sister publication Economic Times had earlier reported that Ratan would step down shortly and hand over the reins to a new chairman. "The next chairman has to be someone who has the right vision and be in complete alignment with the will of the Tata group founders," a long-time confidant of Ratan, R K Krishna Kumar, told the daily adding that the chairman would resign soon.
However, denying the reports, the press statement added: "The reference to the media discussion with some trustees relate to the process being put in place for the leadership succession in the trusts in the future, to enable an ordered and smooth transition of leadership.
"Mr Tata also emphasised that the trusts were undertaking many initiatives that had national impact and he is looking forward to continuing his involvement with these initiatives in the trusts. He was, however, keen that a process should be in place for a smooth succession at an appropriate time."
Ratan Tata, 79, who was at the helm for over two decades, was brought back as an interim chairman by Tata Sons after the unceremonious departure of the chairman Cyrus Mistry.
Ratan, considered dynamic by many, took the group from a $6bn business to a $100bn mega corporation after he assumed charge in 1991. He boosted the group's global image with a slew of big-name purchases such as Corus Steel, Tetley and Jaguar Land Rover.