Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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Tata Group veteran RK Krishnakumar, 84, passes away in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Tata Trusts’ trustee and Ratan Tata’s confidant, R K Krishna Kumar, passed away on Sunday evening following a cardiac arrest at his home in Mumbai. He was 84.
KK, as he is known in the Tata Group, felt uncomfortable after taking a shower, and before his doctor Pravin Amin could reach his home, he died. He is survived by his wife, Ratna, son Ajit and grandson Arya. Ajit is the COO of Tata Consumer Products. Ajit and his family were in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands when they came to know about the news.
KK was associated with the Tata Group for almost 60 years, having joined the group’s investment company Tata Industries fresh out of Presidency college, Chennai, in 1963. He subsequently moved to different Tata entities, including Tata Consumer, Indian Hotels (which runs the Taj chain) and Tata Sons.
The turning point in his career came in 1982, when he became part of the senior management team at Tata Consumer and where he started to have direct interactions with Ratan Tata. KK became part of Ratan Tata’s inner circle during the Assam crisis in 1997, when some Tata Consumer employees were held hostage by militant group Ulfa. He subsequently became the VC of Tata Consumer & Indian Hotels, director of Tata Sons and a trustee of Tata Trusts.
While he retired from the board of Tata entities, he continued to be a trustee of Tata Trusts, the controlling shareholder of Tata Sons. A Padma Shri awardee, KK, among his many achievements that won Tata Group international acclaim, is best known for spearheading the 271-million-pound acquisition of British tea brand Tetley in 2000, which catapulted Tata Consumer to the world’s No.2 tea player and which set the stage for the conglomerate to strike several high-profile M&As globally.
A religious person, KK supported the Tata Group during its varied phases, said a Tata old-timer.
Tata Trusts chairman Ratan Tata said: “Words cannot describe the deep sense of loss I feel on the passing of my friend and colleague R K Krishna Kumar. I will always fondly remember the camaraderie we shared both within the group and personally.”
Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran said, “I had the good fortune of knowing R K Krishna Kumar and what stood out was his deep sense of compassion as a human being. He always wanted to help the less privileged and positively impact their lives.”
KK’s last rites will be performed at Banganga crematorium here at 4.30 pm on Monday.

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