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Freddie to step down at Rallis
BS Corporate Bureau in Mumbai |
March 25, 2003 12:22 IST
Tata group stalwart Freddie Mehta is stepping down as the chairman of group agrichemicals firm Rallis India.
Vice-chairman R Gopalakrishnan, who is also an executive director of Tata Sons and one of the members of Ratan Tata's group executive office, is taking over as the new chairman from April 1.
Gopalakrishnan has been closely involved with Rallis' day-to-day operations since 1999 when Vijay Rai, who had been at the helm of Rallis for 15 years, quit. Rallis was without a chief executive for almost a year till Rajeev Dubey was brought in from Tata Metaliks to head the company.
This will be Gopalakrishnan's second stint as the chairman of a Tata company -- the first being Tata Honeywell -- since he joined the group from his position as vice-chairman of Hindustan Lever in 1998.
Mehta will, however, continue on the board of Rallis as a non-executive director. Last September, Mehta stepped down from the board of Tata Sons on becoming 75.
Yet another group stalwart, Jimmy Setna, has also stepped down from the Rallis board. The board will see an infusion of younger non-executive directors in Prasad Menon, managing director of Tata Chemicals, Tata Tea Managing Director Homi Khusrokhan and Venkatrao Sohoni, managing director of Pharmacia India.
Rallis has been going through a major restructuring over the last two years, selling its non-core businesses and assets, closing unprofitable subsidiaries and merging them, rationalising production facilities, reducing debt and manpower, and even looking at new growth opportunities. As part of the exercise, it has also divested its fledgling pharmaceuticals business.