Ratan Tata dismisses 'ghost-shadow' talk over Tata Group

Dec 14 2012, 15:50 IST
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Ratan Tata dismissing any notion that his larger-than-life persona would linger even after he retires as Tata Group chairman on December 28 when he turns 75. Ratan Tata dismissing any notion that his larger-than-life persona would linger even after he retires as Tata Group chairman on December 28 when he turns 75.
SummaryTata elaborates on his larger-than-life persona and its future effect on the $100 bn group.

knows where to reach me and, we in fact, would talk business and stay in touch after I leave."

He then disclosed that the two of them would have lunch every couple of weeks "over something and we will talk about whatever he wants to talk about".

Tata, who will remain Chairman of the various Tata trusts, which hold 66 per cent shares of Tata Sons, was asked as to whether this would not give him a large influence over the group.

He replied, "I don't want to say I will have a large influence over the group. I think I would have to wear a different hat of being the major shareholder. The same kind of view that a shareholder might have, not a Chairman's view of the company.

"I should not be involved in the business of the company or how the company goes about its growth. But at the same time I should be concerned about the return I get on my shares because it is the only income that the trusts have."

The dividend from Tata Sons was to be distributed for charity by the trusts. "So I should protect that," he said.

Looking ahead to the future of the group, Tata said that he personally believed that it was poised to continue to grow. "Where it would grow, I think Cyrus Mistry should have his space and define where he would like it to grow," he said.

His 20 years at the helm was enough time to charter course. Quite often an organisation has played out one course and is ready to go in a different direction, he said.

Often, an unwillingness to have that "course correction brings about the demise of an organisation because when you bring fresh blood into it, he sees things in another way", said Tata said.

The group would continue to grow at the same kind of growth that it had achieved but the patriarch warned, "competition is growing all the time and sustainability of business is becoming more and more difficult".

He went on to say, "So I am sure Cyrus will bring new ideas and new things. I feel very confident that the organisation and his leadership will grow."

Asked about the changes he had not been able to achieve in the group, Tata said that he had wanted a more open, flat organisation where there is not much hierarchy, where there is much more informal working relationship at

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