Indian business icon Ratan Tata says his appointed successor, Cyrus Mistry, has the capacity and ability to lead the automobile-to-software group in the years to come.
Mistry, an existing director, was named last November to take over from Tata at the end of 2012, ending years of speculation over the future leader of one of India's biggest and most influential groups.
"Cyrus has the capacity and the ability to lead this group in the years to come and face the challenges," Tata told the annual meeting of Tata Consultancy Services, India's leading outsourcer and one of the group's crown jewels.
"In my view, Cyrus embraces all the ethical values on which the Tata Group is built," Tata added late Friday.
Tata retires at the end of December when he turns 75, making way for the much younger Mistry, who turns 44 in July.
Tata, a trained architect and leading public figure from the minority Parsi religious group in India, had stipulated that his successor must uphold the company's tradition of corporate responsibility.
Asked by shareholders why he did not give them a special bonus as a parting gift, the industrialist replied: "You can remember me for being stingy!"
Tata, a bachelor with no children, took over the family business in 1991 and is credited with building it into an international behemoth.
Mistry, an engineer with half a dozen years experience in Tata, is related to Tata by marriage.
Tata won headlines as the driving force behind the creation of the Nano, billed as the world's cheapest "people's" car as well for the purchase in 2008 of luxury British cars Jaguar and Land Rover.