Prince in waiting never wanted the throneNovember 28, 2011 18:22
Noel Naval Tata the name as it suggests is direct Tata Descendent who was much expected to take over the reins of the Multi Billion Tata Empire. But was it a bolt in the blue when Cyrus Pallonji Mistry took over, may be for the outside world. Because the world expected succession from the Tata’s but they have evolved over time. Because the group’s interest was more on their agenda than succession. If insiders are to be believed the Prince in reserve never ever wished to be ordained the king and it was he who first suggested the name of Cyrus, who was his brother-in-law. Noel had married Cyrus sister Aloo. Infact it was Noel who first wished to the new groomed King on the Boards announcement.
His reluctance for the big post was cleanly evident from an excerpt from an interview of Ratan Tata, which stated the senior almost ruled out his brother when he said that Noel Tata's experience is not wide enough and that has been due to Noel Tata's own choices. `I think if he is to run this, he should have greater exposure than he has had. Partly his not having it has been his own choice,’ Tata was quoted as saying.
Inspite of impeccable academics Noel gave way for Cyrus, and of course the reins are within the family. Despite Noel branded as a stable performer he had been the brains behind the group’s foray into private labels by Indian retailers and diversifying into footwear retailing, stepping up exports and making acquisitions. Anonymity can sometimes be a person’s biggest strength.
Most insiders felt that Noel was never ever keen to take on the chairman's role. But he was more comfortable with the idea of the role being within the family. After all, to lead a group with global ambitions, calls for an individual with an almost manic obsession with size and scale. Noel clearly wasn't the man for that and that too due to his own choice.