Tata veteran Krishna Kumar passes away
Tata Group senior chairman and former Tata Sons director R.K. Krishna Kumar, Ratan Tata’s close confidant and key group executive, passed away on Sunday evening after a 50-year career at the sprawling conglomerate. He is 86 years old.
Kumar served in key roles in several group companies and was particularly instrumental in shaping the fortunes of Tata Tea, the company’s packaged consumer goods division. In 2000, Tata Tea (now Tata Consumer Products Ltd.) made a bold bet when it acquired British tea maker Deadly, three times its size. At that time Krishna Kumar was the Vice President of Tata Tea. The deal – the largest cross-border acquisition by an Indian company at the time – put Tata Tea on the global map. He was instrumental in the acquisition and integration of other companies including Eight O’Clock Coffee in the US and Grand Tea & Coffee in Russia.
Tata Sons Chairman N. Chandrasekaran said Krishna Kumar was a senior Tata leader who had contributed immensely to the group during his lifetime.
“I had the good fortune to know him and what stood out as a human being was his deep compassion. He always wanted to help the underprivileged and positively impact their lives. We pray for his departed soul and miss him dearly,” he said in a statement on Sunday evening.
Krishna Kumar joined the Tata Executive Service in 1963 and was then employed by the Tata Group’s tea, coffee and spices business, Tata Finlay, a partnership between Tata and Finlay of Glasgow. In 1988, Kumar became the joint managing director of Tata Tea; He was appointed Managing Director of the company in 1991.
In 1997, he served as the Managing Director of Indian Hotels and later took over as the Vice Chairman of Tata Tea. Krishna Kumar was a director on the board of Tata Sons Limited, the holding company of the Tata Group, from 2002 until his retirement in July 2013.
Krishna Kumar was awarded the Padma Shri in 2009.
Krishna Kumar played an important role in the Tata Group. He served as a Life Trustee of the Tata Group’s flagship philanthropic trusts, Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and Sir Ratan Tata Trust.