A K Bhattacharya: Keeping the PM in the loop

A K Bhattacharya: Keeping the PM in the loop: Speculation will be rife about why Ratan Tata wrote a letter to Narendra Modi after the board of Tata Sons removed Cyrus Mistry as its chairman...

Proving Trust-worthiness

This refers to A K Bhattacharya’s excellent piece “Keeping the PM in the loop” (Business Standard, Raisina Hill, October 31). Unlike Cyrus Mistry’s ‘open letter’ reacting to the turn of events that culminated in his own exit, which neither added glory to his personal image, nor added value to the net-worth of the Group of companies he was heading for a short period (4 years out of more than one and a half century of Tatas) and in which he himself had stakes much beyond the job he lost, Ratan Tata’s two letters had clear positive objectives in the given context. 
Tatas  have  a 150 year history behind and perhaps stands alone as the single private sector group which has striven to protect public interest and participated in India’s economic growth through thick and thin, working on trust principles. 
The opening paragraph of the Group’s profile on the website explains the Tata approach to business, which reads: 'To improve the quality of life of the communities we serve globally, through long-term stakeholder value creation based on Leadership with Trust'. And that explains the prick of conscience that would have woken up the Septuagenarian Ratan Tata, to act decisively, despite having the easier option of leaving things to evolve.
The corporate sector in India, post-independence has been enjoying public support in resources mobilization and government support in several areas, from land acquisition to tax concessions and from policy support in management of workers to procurement of raw materials to import of accessories to export of manufactured products and skilled services. 
By keeping the Prime Minister of the country appraised of the developments in a group of companies, which can have an impact on the nation’s economy, Ratan Tata has just done his duty as a responsible business head. As many of us have almost forgotten the ethics and morals of doing business, even such gestures are viewed with suspicion.
If there is one real reason for the unceremonious exit of Cyrus Mistry on October 24, 2016, it is unlikely that anyone outside Tatas may come to know of it. Probably, it may be the culmination of several events during the last few years affecting the fortunes of Tata Group, for which Mistry might not be the only person responsible. But, those outside need to concede to Ratan Tata, the right to  correct, through legally acceptable means,  if a succession plan he implemented after considerable contemplation has gone wrong, in his own assessment. 
People who thought Tatas can be broken into manageable pieces by using methods like leaving the institutions topless or with weak CEOs (similar to those successfully tried in PSUs like UTI and HMT), will, hopefully, be proved wrong here.
M G Warrier, Mumbai 


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