Natarajan Chandrasekaran is the Chairman of Tata Sons. This is notable because the latter is the owner of Tata Group, which has the honor of being India's single biggest conglomerate. In recent times, interested individuals might have seen Chandrasekaran's name come up in the news because he has been put in charge of Air India until a CEO can be named.
1. Born in Mohanur, Tamil Nadu
Chandrasekaran was born in the village of Mohanur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Chances are good that interested individuals can guess that he came from very humble beginnings. However, Chandrasekaran is now the head of one of the biggest conglomerates in not just India but also the rest of the world as well.
2. Education Was His Way Out
For context, Chandrasekaran was born to a farming family. As a result, it wouldn't have been surprising if he had followed in his farming family's footsteps by becoming a farmer himself. Instead, Chandrasekaran was one of the people who managed to find a way out of the life laid out for them. For him, that way out was education.
3. Went to Coimbatore Institute of Technology
Initially, Chandrasekaran went to a Tamil Government school. Later, he was able to go to the Coimbatore Institute of Technology, which is an engineering school that can be found in the city of Coimbatore in the state of Tamil Nadu. Said school was founded in 1956. As such, the Coimbatore Institute of Technology would have been established for not much more than a couple of decades by the time that Chandrasekaran went there, seeing as how he had been born in 1963. After that, he went for a master's degree at the Regional Engineering College, Tiruchirappalli, which is now the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli.
4. He Had an Interest in Computer Programming
One of the reasons that Chandrasekaran pursued this path was because of his passion for computer programming, which would have still been a novel thing in those times. His interest can be seen in how his master's degree was in computer applications even though his bachelor's degree was in applied sciences.
5. Rose High At Tata Consultancy Services
The Tata Group includes a wide range of businesses under its umbrella. To name an example, there is Tata Consultancy Services, which specializes in IT services as well as consulting. This was the place where Chandrasekaran started out as an intern. After which, he proceeded to climb his way to the top. In fact, it should be mentioned that Chandrasekaran served as both the COO and the CEO for Tata Consultancy Services, meaning that he served as both the second-in-command and the first-in-command. Moreover, he reached the latter position when he was still in his 40s, which made him one of the youngest CEOs in the Tata Group of the time.
6. Earned the Name of Chandra
Chandrasekaran's long service with the Tata Group earned him the name of Chandra. It seems safe to say that this is no mean honor. After all, Chandra has meanings such as "bright," "shining," and "glittering," which make sense because it is the name of the Hindu god of the moon. Curiously, Chandra is also often called Soma, though that has caused some serious debate because of the uncertainty over when that started being a thing. Some scholars think that it was a thing as far back as the Vedas. In contrast, other scholars think that it wasn't a thing until post-Vedic literature. This is relevant because Soma was the god who presided over some kind of intoxicating plant-based drink as well as the drink itself in the Vedas, which explains why Chandra is associated with plants. Regardless, the name has a lot of positive connotations.
7. Fond of Marathons
It seems safe to say that Chandrasekaran is in very good physical condition. This is because one of his hobbies would be running marathons, which are always 26.2 miles in distance. As the story goes, such races were inspired by an ancient Greek herald named Pheidippides, who ran the approximately 150 miles from Athens to Sparta over the course of two days for the purpose of requesting assistance against the Persians at Marathon. After which, he ran the approximately 25 miles to Marathon and then the approximately 25 miles back to Athens to announce the Athenian victory, at which point, he dropped dead from exhaustion. Keen-eyed individuals might have noticed that he ran 25 miles rather than 26.2 miles. This is because Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom requested the extension so that the youngest members of the British royal family could see the marathon from their nursery during the 1908 Olympics in London. Something that stuck.
8. There Was a Legal Battle Over Him Becoming the Chairman of Tata Sons
There was quite a legal battle over Chandrasekaran becoming the Chairman of Tata Sons. His predecessor in the position was Cyrus Mistry, who was offered a chance to step down but refused. As a result, the Board of Directors voted to remove him from the position before replacing him with Chandrasekaran. The National Company Law Tribunal ruled in favor of the Board of Directors. Then, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal ruled in favor of Mistry. The legal battle wasn't resolved until 2020 by the Supreme Court of India.
9. Oversaw the Acquisition of Air India
In recent times, Chandrasekaran oversaw the acquisition of Air India, which would be said country's national air carrier. One can make the argument that this is something of a homecoming. After all, Air India started out as Tata Airlines in 1932 before being nationalized in 1953. In recent decades, there has been more than one attempt to privatize the air carrier, with the latest attempt having succeeded in October of 2021.
10. Overseeing Air India For the Time Being
For the time being, Chandrasekaran is the one overseeing Air India. However, a CEO is needed because there is much that needs to be done at the air carrier. The most recent attempt to get a CEO for Air India fell through because the candidate met with a bad public reaction, so the search continues.
Written by Allen Lee
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