Rumors of Ratan Tata's retirement from the international corporation he helms as CEO have been buzzing around the internet for over a year, but they've recently been lent a little credence. According to BBC News, Tata Group has assembled a five-person panel to find a suitable successor to the company's throne. It had previously been suggested that the 79-year-old Tata would retire by the end of 2012. The panel hopes to locate a new CEO by March of next year, providing a bit of overlap between the incoming and outgoing regimes. In the past, Tata Group has kept the boss's seat within the family, though there is some speculation that a few outsiders are favored for the post.

BBC News reports that other media outlets have pointed to Noel Tata, Ratan Tata's half brother and head of the Tata Group's international operations, as a strong candidate for the CEO position. Other possibilities include Arun Sarin, who once headed Vodofone, and Nusli Wadia, a textiles chairman. At this point, it remains unclear whether Ratan Tata will retain some influence over the corporation he helped save from financial doom post-retirement or if he'll leave the decision making to his successor. Either way, the next few months should be interesting for the company.

[Source: BBC News | Image: AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade]