By Devidutta Tripathy and Aditi Shah
MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's $100 billion salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group is set to name N. Chandrasekaran, the boss of its software services unit, as the new chairman of its holding company, two sources with direct knowledge said on Thursday.
Tata Sons, the holding company in a business empire ranging from Jaguar Land Rover and steel mills to aviation and salt pans, ousted its chairman Cyrus Mistry in October, sparking a bitter public spat.
Chandrasekaran, 53, and a Tata Group veteran, currently heads IT outsourcing giant Tata Consultancy Services, India's most-valuable company with a market capitalisation of $67 billion.
"Let's not speculate," he said, when asked at a news conference on Thursday, after TCS unveiled its quarterly results, whether he was getting the Tata Sons chairman's role.
The sources said an announcement was due later on Thursday.
A masters degree holder in computer applications, Chandrasekaran joined the group in 1987, and rose through the ranks to become TCS CEO in 2009.
He was named to the Tata Sons board in October, after Mistry's ouster. Chandrasekaran also serves on the board of India's central bank.
A short bio on the central bank's website describes him as an avid photographer, music aficionado and a passionate long-distance runner who has completed marathons across the world.
Tata Sons held a board meeting on Thursday afternoon, at which Chandrasekaran was unanimously endorsed as the new chairman, TV station CNBC TV18 reported, citing an unnamed board member.
Television stations also said TCS chief financial officer Rajesh Gopinathan would be appointed as the software services company's chief executive.
Ratan Tata, patriarch of one of India's most influential families, had taken over as interim chairman of Tata Sons after the board ousted Mistry.
In October, Tata Sons' board had set up a five-member selection committee that included Ratan Tata to choose a new chairman within the next four months.
When asked if Tata Sons was naming a new chairman on Thursday, a spokesman said the company would not comment on speculation.
(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy and Aditi Shah; Additional reporting by Ean Rocha, Promit Mukherjee, Swati Bhat and Suvashree Choudhury; Editing by Alex Richardson)