Siddharth Sharma’s appointment as the CEO of Tata Trusts couldn’t have come at a better time. The Trusts have been facing several headwinds over the past few years including a long-drawn legal battle with the tax authorities, and allegations of misgovernance and inappropriate interference as charged by former Tata Sons Chairman, the late Cyrus Mistry. While the allegations made by Mistry have been discarded by the courts, the tax tribunal has ruled in favour of the Trusts.

Sharma, 54, who takes over as the CEO on April 1, can focus on achieving the Trusts’ mission of positively and sustainably impacting millions of lives through active interventions. He, however, has big shoes to fill as his predecessor, N Srinath, was considered to be one of Ratan Tata’s blue-eyed boys. His appointment also comes amid reports of a major restructuring within Tata Trusts. The trust has also appointed Aparna Uppaluri as the Chief Operating Officer (COO), who is at present with the Ford Foundation.

An avid public speaker and debater, Sharma was Secretary of the Debating Society at Shri Ram College of Commerce, from where he graduated with an Honours degree in Commerce in 1989.

As a key member of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority of India during 2007-09, Sharma oversaw the expansion of the National Pension System (NPS) to the unorganised sector as well as the insurance and banking sectors and State governments. He spearheaded a pilot project for transitioning the Government of India from cash to accruals, while in the Ministry of Urban Development (2006), extensively researching the financial systems of the UK and Canada for this purpose.

Sharma has also co-authored along with former RBI Governor Urjit Patel, a seminal document on the government’s pensionary liabilities which led to the eventual introduction of the National Pension System.

Sharma started working for Tatas in 2019 as the Group Chief Sustainability Officer at Tata Sons. Prior to that, he handled important assignments in such as the President’s Secretariat. Sharma also worked in various ministries including Finance, Urban Development and External Affairs. After working in various ministries and serving as the Internal Financial Advisor to the 13th and 14th Presidents of India for almost six years, he took voluntary retirement from the Government of India in February 2018 and subsequently transitioned to the Tata group in 2019. His stint at Tata Trusts will be keenly watched.