Am not disappearing, Ratan Tata tells AGM | business | Hindustan Times
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Am not disappearing, Ratan Tata tells AGM

"I am not going to disappear. You will continue to see my ugly face. I will be around, you like it or not,” Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Sons was at his humorous best on Friday.

business Updated: Aug 10, 2012 21:51 IST

"I am not going to disappear. You will continue to see my ugly face. I will be around, you like it or not,” Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Sons was at his humorous best on Friday as he presided over his last annual general meeting of Tata Motors, where he championed the ambitious Nano, the world’s cheapest car.

Tata, who is due to retire as group chairman at the end of this year, promised shareholders to extend his full support to the new leadership.

“In India the landscape is changing as international players Mercedes Benz, Volvo and Navistar are entering the commercial vehicle space... I hope we can compete with them,” he said.

Not content with saying nice things in his goodbye, Tata added a word of caution: “In case of failure to do so, we will see ourselves unfortunately slipping.” Tata is stepping down as chairman of Tata Motors after 25 eventful years that saw an Indian truck maker with an annual production of 50,000 units and a Rs-3 crore profit metamorphose into a global auto giant with 1.2 million in sales and a Rs 13,500-crore profit.

When a few shareholders pointed out Tatas losing out to M&M in utility vehicle space, despite being the first mover, he said “We have to do a great deal of introspection on why Mahindra is ahead of us. I feel a certain degree of sadness and shame that we let that happen.”

In his retirement year, Jaguar Land Rover — an audacious acquisition that Ratan Tata led — paid its parent Tata Motors a dividend of Rs 1,294 crore.

When a shareholder demanded he should instill same degree of passion for automobiles to his successor Cyrus Mistry, he responded in jest: “He has greater passion for food.” Earlier he praised his successor.