Global giant Tata assembles European corporate affairs team

The Indian conglomerate behind 19 UK companies including Jaguar Land Rover and Tetley Tea is building a central corporate and public affairs team for the UK and Europe.

Tata's new corporate team (l-r): Meehan, Ehmann, Barriball and Khera
Tata's new corporate team (l-r): Meehan, Ehmann, Barriball and Khera

Tata, which was founded in 1868 and established in London in 1907, is bringing in the Institute of Directors’ deputy director of policy and public affairs Alexander Ehmann and former Google policy and government relations manager Simon Meehan.

They will join another new hire, director of corporate comms Adam Barriball, who has been in the role since March after three years as SVP of corporate affairs at private jet operator NetJets.

The investment is being made to support Tata’s operating companies and to increase understanding of the holding company, which was ranked 34th out of 500 global brands in BrandFinance’s study this year. The combined global revenue of all its companies was $97bn (£57bn) in 2012/13.

Meehan, who has also spent four years as a policy adviser to the European Parliament, starts on Monday as director of public affairs Europe. Like Barriball and another new hire, business development director Aditya Khera, Meehan will report to Dr David Landsman, executive director of Tata.

Landsman said: "Our newly appointed corporate affairs team represents Tata’s ongoing commitment to, and growth within, Europe where the Tata group now employs more than 60,000 people across information technology and communications, engineering, materials, services, chemicals and consumer products."

Ehmann will arrive in August as head of UK public affairs and will report to Barriball. He will be replaced at the IoD by Bell Pottinger associate director James McLoughlin, as reported yesterday.

Barriball told PRWeek the team’s mission would be to "encourage deeper understanding of the Tata brand, heritage and values and demonstrate the group’s long-term approach to building value for the communities in which we operate".

Tata’s UK businesses include Tata Steel, Tata Chemicals, IT specialist Tata Communications Services and Taj Hotels and it employs 50,000 people in more than 40 towns and cities.

Barriball said that despite the establishment of the in-house team the Tata group was "very happy" with its longstanding relationship, believed to be 11 years, with its corporate comms agency FTI Consulting. Individual Tata businesses have their own agency arrangements.

The corporate affairs team also includes head of networks and projects Martin Shaw, whose role is to encourage greater collaboration across Tata companies in Europe, and communications co-ordinator Ashleigh Gribble.

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