Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Gopichand Katragadda to head innovation at Tata group

MUMBAI: Tata Sons is handing over the reins of its almost decade-old Innovation Group to its technology head Gopichand Katragadda. The 147-year-old business house under chairman Cyrus Mistry is pushing for innovation across their 120 companies and this move will marry technology, digital and innovation under one man. 

The conglomerate started Tata Group Innovation Forum (TGIF) in 2007 and the goal was to incubate ideas and encourage all their companies to develop the latest technology that will propel businesses. R Gopalakrishnan, director Tata Sons, was heading TGIF from the start but will retire this year end. Handing over the baton to Katragadda makes the former GE veteran and Tata Group's first CTO a key decision maker on what is expected from the group that clocked an annual revenue of $108.78 billion. 

"They are bringing it under Katragadda because the idea is to streamline it. People from the Innovation Group will start reporting to him. So far if you look at it, the innovation activities are not very well spread across companies. It is very focused in companies like TCS, Tata Elxsi. The idea is to bring in innovation in all companies and make new industry leaders in new sectors," said a consultant who did not wish to be named. 

In his calls, Katragadda will get help from an executive committee that has an eclectic team of top executives of the conglomerate. They include the group executive council members of Tata Sons — Mukund Rajan, Nirmalaya Kumar, Harish Bhatt; Ananth Krishnan (CTO of TCS) amongst others. 

A Tata Sons' spokesperson confirmed the development. "Gopalakrishnan has now given charge of TGIF to Gopichand Katragadda, Chief Technology Officer of Tata Sons. Managers, who implement TGIF activities,will be members of Katragadda's team." 

Katragadda has identified areas where he believes the group should focus on. "It is critical to figure out the disruption that can be caused by commercial drones, aggregator apps, genetic compilers, digital assistants and immersive entertainment in our businesses. It would be better to utilise these technologies to drive profitable growth," Katragadda said in the July edition of the group's magazine Tata Review. 

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