Tata trusts, where he will devote himself to the philantrophic activities of the Tatas. Let us wish him a successful and long stint in his chosen field.
JJ Irani is former MD, Tata Steel
Ratan Tata is too great a person for me to comment on. However, I have a lot of personal regard for Tata, a man who has given his life to the organisation. Armed with humility and empathy, Tata is always willing to look at problems. From the moment you tell him your problem, it becomes his own. I have not worked with him much, since by the time he became TCS boss, I had retired. But I had contact with him when I was looking after Tata Elxsi.
People don’t realise that Tata went through the grind before he took over. It is sometimes easy to think that if you are a member of the family, you don’t have to go through the grind. When I joined, JRD Tata and Ratan Tata’s father, Naval Tata, were there. Ratan Tata was an architect. He did his education in architecture in Cornell University. I think his first job was with Tisco in Jamshedpur.
TCS started in 1969. In the initial days, apart from licence raj, the government was dead against computers. This was a socialist/communist view. The same is true about today’s clamour over FDI in multibrand retail.
Tata understands all the dimensions of the business and his biggest contribution was in turning around Jaguar and Land Rover. That makes me think of Air India, of which JRD was the first chairman.
JRD and Ratan Tata were two people with different styles. But were always willing to experiment. Let’s not forget TCS came in JRD’s time. I was shifted from Tata Power. PM Agarwala, who was my boss, died after a stroke, so I got stuck. Tata took it forward with Tata Communications and Tata Elxsi.
It was necessary for them to give a free hand to their executives who ran companies. They did what a parent would do. The parent doesn’t interfere with the child, but if