Ta-ta! And Off To A South African Holiday

Updated: Dec 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
D-Day is no longer the cracker-box of corporate historic milestones as it was touted to be. In the biggest damp squib to flatten the new year and most of all, December 28, Ratan Tata will be soaking up the summer of the southern hemisphere, preferring the sun-kissed beaches of South Africa to a sombre official change-over from the executive to the non-executive position as chairman of the Tata group.

One after the other, much touted events scheduled for December 28 have proved to be wet blankets with Reliance deciding to unveil its CDMA services on December 27, instead of Dhirubhai Ambanis 70th birth anniversary on the 28th, as was anticipated. Larsen & Toubro followed suit, postponing its crucial board meeting, and just to round-off the party of three, Mr Tata will not be around for the hoopla surrounding his stepping down.

According to Tata insiders, the move is simply a change in name and remuneration. Mr Tata is on vacation, somewhere in South Africa. There is too much hype over what is simply a designation change, they said. Mr Tatas decision to jet away on a winter vacation came at the fag end of a week, where he dominated Mumbai and New Delhi political and social circles, as executive chairman of the Tata group.

On December 16, Mr Tata sat through morning prayers for the Taj Mahal Mumbai, which turned a glamorous 100 years old. Im not 100 years old yet, but it feels really nice to be here, a smiling Mr Tata had exclaimed.

On December 18, Mr Tata welcomed Mumbai to the glittery launch of Tata Engineerings new accomplishment the Indigo. The usually reticent chairman said, We know that we will never be as big as global car giants, but in our own way, we want to give customers the best they can get.

The next morning, the here today there tomorrow man was spotted rubbing shoulders with communications minister Pramod Mahajan and Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit at the launch of the umbrella brand for the Tatas Telecom venture, Tata Indicom, in New Delhi.