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May 13, 2024

N Chandrasekaran Takes Helm at Tata Electronics Amid $14 Billion Semiconductor Push

N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, is set to assume the additional role of chairman at Tata Electronics, as the conglomerate earmarks around $14 billion for a foray into the semiconductor industry. This transition follows the pending regulatory approval and will see Chandrasekaran succeed Banmali Agrawala, who has held the post for the past few years. Agrawala, a key figure within Tata Sons, will now move into an advisory role within the group.

Chandrasekaran’s appointment highlights the strategic importance of the semiconductor business for the conglomerate, according to industry insiders who spoke with The Economic Times (ET). His influence played a crucial role in convincing Randhir Thakur, a former executive from Intel Foundry Services, to join Tata Electronics as CEO and MD in 2023. Additionally, Srinivas Satya, previously the country president of the semiconductor products group at Applied Materials, was appointed as Tata Electronics’ chief supply chain officer and president of the components business earlier this year.

These strategic hires, combined with Chandrasekaran’s focused leadership, position Tata Electronics at the forefront of India’s electronics manufacturing landscape. The company has bolstered its team by recruiting 50-60 senior-level expatriates with expertise in semiconductor technology, strategic planning, and design.

“The board of Tata Electronics now has the management width and heft to scale up the business. It is now wooing top-tier global clients and may surpass growth expectations. The challenge earlier was talent and technology, and the company is chasing both aggressively to drive growth,” said an executive close to the company as quoted by ET.

“Since this is a completely greenfield territory for Tata, Tata Electronics will need a more strategic, measured, and bold approach moving towards the ‘One Tata’ vision laid out by Chandrasekaran,” said Counterpoint Research vice president Neil Shah. “From semiconductor fabs to finished goods, electronics factories are a double-digit billion-dollar opportunity, and to ensure it has a strong pipeline will warrant greater involvement from Mr. Chandrasekaran himself,” he added.

Established in 2020, Tata Electronics is the sole Indian vendor assembling iPhone enclosures for Apple. The company plans to scale up its existing facility in Hosur, Tamil Nadu, and has acquired a facility in Karnataka previously operated by Taiwan’s Wistron. Furthermore, reports suggest that Tata Electronics is looking to acquire Pegatron’s facility in Tamil Nadu to expand its production capacity further.

Amidst supply chain disruptions exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and evolving geopolitical dynamics, Indian entities like the Tata Group are seizing opportunities to diversify and cater to changing market demands, particularly as renowned brands seek alternatives to manufacturing in China. With N Chandrasekaran’s leadership, Tata Electronics is poised to play a pivotal role in India’s semiconductor industry, contributing to the nation’s self-reliance and technological advancement.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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