Tata group hires Bank of America dealmaker Ankur Verma

Tata group has hired Bank of America dealmaker Ankur Verma, bringing in its first major outside recruit since N. Chandrasekaran took over as chairman


N. Chandrasekaran’s first hire being a dealmaker could be a sign that the group’s divestment exercise will continue under the new chairman. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
N. Chandrasekaran’s first hire being a dealmaker could be a sign that the group’s divestment exercise will continue under the new chairman. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

Bank of America Merrill Lynch dealmaker Ankur Verma joined the Tata group on Tuesday, in the first top hire by new chairman N. Chandrasekaran who took the reins of the $103 billion group last month.

Bloomberg was the first to report the development.

“His most recent role was as a managing director (investment banking division) with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He (Verma) brings with him extensive experience in the areas of corporate planning, strategy, investment banking and mergers & acquisitions,” a Tata Sons spokesperson said, declining to share his designation.

Ankur Verma is a graduate in mechanical engineering from Delhi College of Engineering and did a postgraduate diploma in management from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.

Chandrasekaran, who headed the group’s IT services business at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd till last month, took over as chairman of Tata Sons Ltd, the holding company of the Tata group on 21 February, after former chairman Cyrus Mistry was ousted by the board following differences with ex-chairman Ratan Tata.

Chandrasekaran’s first hire being a dealmaker could be a sign that the group’s divestment exercise will continue under the new chairman.

Under Mistry, the Tata group had embarked on a major divestment plan, spanning across various businesses including telecom, steel and chemicals. The divestments of Mistry’s tenure were in stark contrast to his predecessor Ratan Tata’s regime, which saw the group expand its wings across the globe aggressively.

Last month, Tata Steel Ltd signed an agreement to sell its UK-based specialty steels business to Liberty House Group for £100 million (Rs838 crore).

Tata group is also exploring a merger of its European business with Thyssenkrupp AG.

In August 2016, Tata Chemicals Ltd sold its urea plant in Babrala, Uttar Pradesh, to the Indian unit of Norway-based Yara International ASA for Rs2,670 crore.

In May 2016, Tata Communications Ltd sold a 74% stake in its data centre business to a unit of Singapore’s Temasek Holdings for $634 million (about Rs.4,260 crore).

Verma’s background in telecommunications investment banking could come handy for Chandrasekaran as the group clears out the mess in its telecom business and chalks a future strategy for the unit.

Earlier this Month, Tata Sons and NTT Docomo Inc. told the Delhi high court that they have reached a settlement agreement concerning enforcement of an arbitration award on the Tata Docomo issue. A London tribunal had ordered the Tata Sons to pay $1.17 billion as compensation to NTT Docomo in June for breaching an agreement.

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