Tata Group hospitality firm Indian Hotels Co Ltd on Friday said its Managing Director and CEO Rakesh Sarna has resigned owing to personal reasons. Sarna submitted his resignation as MD and CEO, and as director of the company and associated companies, Indian Hotels Co Ltd (IHCL) said in a BSE filing.
IHCL Chairman N Chandrasekaran said Sarna had chosen to resign upon completion of his three-year tenure as MD and CEO, adding “The board respects his decision and has requested him to continue till September 30, which he has kinly agreed to”. IHCL runs the Taj Group of hotels.
Sarna had been one of the high-profile recruitments from outside the Tata Group made by ousted Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry. With Mistry’s departure from the group, there were speculations that Sarna was also likely to follow suit. He was considered to be a confidant of Mistry. He had joined IHCL in September 2014 replacing the company’s long-serving head Raymond Bickson.
Before he joined IHCL, Sarna was the Group President -Americas of Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
One March 21, Sarna was acquitted by an independent panel probing a 2015 sexual harassment charge against him by a former woman employee, according to The Economic Times. According to ET, the panel that was set up in June 2016 reported to IHCL’s audit committee, led by Keki Dadiseth, an independent board member. Sources said the panel, including HDFC Standard Life CEO Deepak Satwalekar, head of business development at Tata Capital Kashmira Mewawala, and independent advocate Sonal Mattoo, found “inconclusive” evidence to support the sexual harassment charge made by the employee.
The complainant is believed to have persisted with the case and talked to Dadiseth and Ratan Tata himself, both of whom were disturbed with the case not being resolved in two years, and the effect it had on the Taj Group’s. She said she was skeptical about the inquiry and its findings, reported ET.