Tata Sons Ltd chairman Ratan Tata retires on 28 December when he turns 75. While his successor is in place, there is no clarity on the identity of the individual who will fill an even more important position the man occupies—the elder statesman of Indian business.
There are no obvious candidates for the job once he goes. Azim Premji is probably the best candidate, but he is even more shy than Tata. Sunil Mittal’s success is still far too recent to make him a candidate. Deepak Parekh is too closely associated with one business to make him acceptable to everyone. Which brings us to Anand Mahindra. He is still young (57). He is handsome, intelligent and articulate. And he hasn’t been afraid to voice his views, even if they are not popular ones. It’s still premature to declare Mahindra’s ascension, but Indian industry could do worse than pick him as its next elder statesman.