To become the man responsible for the livelihoods of more than 6 lakh people and a global business group with over $100 billion in revenues at a time of economic volatility around the world cannot be an easy task. It requires the ability to absorb enormous pressure, focus on fixing immediate blips without losing sight of the bigger, long-term picture.
Cyrus Mistry, the 46-year-old chairman of the salt-to-software Tata Group, was in this exact same position when he took over the reins of the conglomerate from his predecessor Ratan Tata in 2012. He will complete two years at the top job in Bombay House, the group’s Mumbai headquarters, on December 28.
Mistry has largely spent the first two years of his tenure as Tata Group chairman in implementing organisational changes and housekeeping. For instance, he formed business clusters for focused growth and hand-picked his A-team of young executives who can continue working with him over the next three decades. In terms of housekeeping, measures like cleaning up the balance sheets of group companies like Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals were put in place.
Mistry wants to see the Tata Group become one of the top 25 in the world in terms of market capitalisation and brand value by 2025. As he goes about trying to achieve this, growing new businesses like defence, aviation and retail while ensure existing ones like steel and automobiles return to good health will be equally critical.
Improved realisations from the sales of value-added steel in Europe, and initial success of the Zest, the first car to be rolled out by Tata Motors under its ‘Horizonext’ strategy, suggests that the group’s new blueprint is working.