That Ratan Tata had taken over from a titan like JRD in no way implies that Cyrus Mistry, in comparison, is in an enviable position. There’s no denying JRD made a tremendous contribution to India and to the Tata group. But it is Ratan Tata who has made the name stand out in the global marketplace under the microscopic scrutiny of shareholders, governments—domestic and foreign—and the media. It is expected that Mistry (with his understanding of the Tata culture and ethos) will lead a young brigade in his quiet, unobtrusive way. Tata watchers say that unlike RNT, Mistry has a reputation for being sharp, focused on numbers, intent on change without being dramatic about it.
Mistry has spent the last year shadowing Tata, meeting with stakeholders and governments, managers, heads of the group companies. It’s been a busy year. A Tata insider says, “It’s a surprise that he’s had time to breathe in the last year.” Despite Tata retiring at the end of this month, observers expect that he will be around to guide Mistry for at least the first two years—exactly like JRD did for the young Ratan.
Mistry’s elevation as successor took the world by surprise, considering the year-long search that preceded the announcement. For many, the final announcement was not that much of a surprise. As a top industrialist put it to a group CEO, “The key factor in finding a successor in such a group is not solely competence, it is also comfort.” And that has been the strongest reaction to Mistry’s appointment—that he “fits in”. As a son of Pallonji Mistry, his family is a larger shareholder in Tata Sons than RNT himself.
That’s one major difference between the two. Cyrus Mistry has a greater personal stake in ensuring the group grows by leaps and bounds. The immediate focus is likely to be on getting the house in order, considering how leveraged some of the companies in the group are.
Mistry faces different challenges than the ones that had confronted RNT. Considering his background with the Pallonji group, it is expected that he might look at focusing more on construction, real estate and power. The group is also understood to be interested in a banking licence when the opportunity arises. For the most part, bankers do not anticipate multi-billion dollar acquisitions in the immediate future.
When RNT took over, the group was in an unorganised state. Mistry will take over a more structured organisation and has to primarily ensure that what has been built is refined. Brand consultant Harish Bijoor says, “I think RNT has been the builder of the business, he has shaped it, moulded it and readied it for the future. Cyrus will be the reaper, he will reap the benefits of the seeds Ratan Tata has sown.”
As in Ratan Tata’s case, observers also expect that in time, Mistry will build his own set of a trusted few. However, sources say Mistry is more likely to choose people on the basis of business acumen than intuition. “Cyrus will face a very different set of challenges in a world far more globalised and a business empire that is far more complex and facing multiple headwinds as economic growth slows down. Chances are that individual company CEOs may become stronger once again as they had during JRD’s tenure,” points out Anirudha Dutta of CLSA.
The next two years will determine which way the wind blows. Comfort, after all, can only take you so far.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
A laser like focus on debt levels would help.
“I can very safely put Cyrus besides Abhishek Bachchan as he too has to maintain the ‘Larger than Life’ statue of a Legend which is a more difficult job than sculpturing a fresh one.”
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT