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Ratan Tata tells group his role temporary, ‘permanent leadership’ coming

Tata Sons interim chairperson Ratan Tata on Tuesday sought to address concerns by asking group companies to focus on their businesses and not get distracted by the developments on the change in leadership.

Cyrus Mistry Exit Updated: Oct 25, 2016 20:46 IST
Ramsurya Mamidenna
Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata (C) arrives in his office after attending a meeting at the company's head office in Mumbai, India, October 25, 2016.
Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata (C) arrives in his office after attending a meeting at the company's head office in Mumbai, India, October 25, 2016. (REUTERS)

Tata Sons interim chairperson Ratan Tata on Tuesday sought to address concerns by asking group companies to focus on their businesses and not get distracted by the developments on the change in leadership.

This is the first time that the 78-year-old Tata has spoken after issuing a terse statement on Monday informing employees and other stakeholders about the Tata Sons board’s decision to remove Cyrus Mistry as chairperson.

Read | Cyrus Mistry removed as Tata Sons chief, Ratan Tata is interim chairman

“The (group) companies must focus on their market position vis-à-vis competition, and not compare themselves to their own past. The drive must be on leadership rather than to follow,” Tata told managing directors and senior leaders of Tata companies in a meeting that was held at Bombay House early on Tuesday.

“I look forward to working with you as we have worked together in the past. An institution must exceed the people who lead it. I am proud of all of you, and let us continue to build the group together,” he added.

“We will evaluate and continue to undertake those that are required to. If there is any change, they will be discussed with you.”

Read | Tata Group stocks tumble on sudden Cyrus Mistry exit

Tata reiterated that he had assumed the role of interim chairperson for stability and continuity so that there is no vacuum. “This will be for a short time. A new permanent leadership will be in place,” he emphasised.

Tata Sons has already announced that a selection committee has been constituted to choose a new chairperson, and will complete its mandate in four months.

Shares of Tata Group companies tumbled on Tuesday morning following the surprise decision of Tata Sons, the holding company of Tata Group, to remove Mistry and bring back Ratan Tata as the interim chairperson.

Mistry’s ouster came as a surprising. Only last month he had outlined his long-term vision for the group.

The group gave no reason for removing Mistry but reports suggested the board wasn’t happy with the way he was dealing with non-profit businesses.

Also read | Mr Indispensable: Why Tata Group just can’t say goodbye to Ratan Tata