N. A. Soonawala, a member of the Board of Directors listens at their AGM in Mumbai, India, Wednesday. (Photographer: Santosh Verma/Bloomberg News)

Soonawala Steps Down From Tata Trusts On Health Grounds

Tata Trusts said group veteran NA Soonawala has stepped down from the trusteeship of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trusts and the Sir Ratan Tata Trusts due to health and advancing age.

Tata Trusts is a string of non-profits and owns 66 percent in the diversified conglomerate Tata Sons and is fighting a litigation with the tax department for allegedly over-paying its former chief executive R Venkatramanan.

The 83-year-old Soonawala, who has served at various positions in the Tata group, including as the vice chairman of Tata Sons and as a close confidante of the group patriarch Ratan Tata, has "expressed his desire to retire from these trusts due to his health and advanced age," an official statement said.

Ratan Tata expressed his "personal thanks to Soonawala for his colleagueship over the years and wished him good health in the years ahead", the statement added.

"The trustees acknowledge the significant contribution Soonawala has made as a trustee and to the group over the years and respect his desire to step down from the trusts," the statement read.

The retirement comes, it can be noted, on the heels of Venkatramanan’s resignation from the trust last month following an income tax notice on his commercial level salary and threatening to end the tax exemptions that the country's largest and oldest charity was enjoying as a public trust. The matter is subjudice now. Venkatramanan will leave the trusts by end of the month.