CAN TATA’S INTERNAL POLITICS AFFECT INDIA INC

Cyrus-Mistry Cyrus-Mistry[/caption] Mistry, whose credibility was at stake, hit back in self defence. His email to his former senior colleagues was generously leaked to the media which went to town with the serious charges made in his statement. He put on record the fact that several prestigious Tata projects were “legacy hotspots” and were bleeding the group. He put the figure of capital employed by the group’s loss making projects such as Tata Teleservices, Tata Steel Europe and Tata Power Mundra at a mammoth Rs 1,96,000 crore and pointed out that the figure exceeds the group’s net worth. He also referred to the failed projects such as the taking over of loss making Corus Steel and Ratan Tata’s prestigious Tata Nano car project. He claimed that he was attempting to cleanse the system and wind up loss making enterprises. He also listed a string of allegations of bad business bets and questionable deals. Besides, he referred to the interference by Ratan Tata and how some of the Board members banked only on his advise. Tata Sons too reacted sharply to his statement and claimed that though Mistry enjoyed autonomy, he suffered from a “big trust deficit” in the Board. The company’s official press release remained silent on specifics but indicated that it would hit out if forced into a corner. “The record, as and when made public, would prove things to the contrary”, the statement said in a thinly veiled threat that it was ready to strike back if required. It stressed the point that Mistry was a Board member of the Group since 2006 and was as much responsible for the current situation as anyone else on the Board. Rejecting claims of Mistry that former chairman Ratan Tata was trying to interfere in his work, the statement said that Mistry’s tenure was “marked by repeated departures from the culture and ethos of the group”. [caption id="attachment_5241" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Ratan-Tata-at-press-conference Ratan-Tata-at-press-conference[/caption] The face off has its positive aspects too. It is a wake up call for Indian Industry as well as the government. At a time when India Inc is looking at increased role on the world stage  it also needs to meet the highest standards of cooperative governance and transparency. Moreover such companies shall have to run in a totally professional manner without the whims and fancies of promoters who may allow losses for pet but doomed projects. The Tata group has had its share of problems in the past with the Singur land controversy and the Radia tapes but the current imbroglio is its toughest test yet. The issues raised by Mistry’s removal need to be debated to restore confidence of the stake holders including the vast number of investors and employees. The disclosures would hopefully clear the air about the future plans of the Group. With a footprint in over 100 countries, the Group shall remain under close scrutiny not only within the country but around the world. Not only that, so will the workings and professionalism of India inc.       // ]]>