Ratan Tata dismisses 'ghost-shadow' talk over Tata Group

Ratan Tata

He had told Mistry, "if you want my inputs I will give it to you but be your own man and be yourself and just be driven by the fact that every act you do and every move you make has to stand the test of public scrutiny".

That, he said, was the test he had given himself. "If it stands the test of public scrutiny, do it... if it doesn't stand the test of public scrutiny then don't do it."

Asked if his counsel would be available to his successor, Tata replied, "Yes, certainly. He knows where to reach me and, we in fact, would talk business and stay in touch after I leave."

He then disclosed that the two of them would have lunch every couple of weeks "over something and we will talk about whatever he wants to talk about".

Tata, who will remain Chairman of the various Tata trusts, which hold 66 per cent shares of Tata Sons, was asked as to whether this would not give him a large influence over the group.

He replied, "I don't want to say I will have a large influence over the group. I think I would have to wear a different hat of being the major shareholder. The same kind of view that a shareholder might have, not a Chairman's view of the company.

"I should not be involved in the business of the company or how the company goes about its growth. But at the same time I should be concerned about the return I get on my shares because it is the only income that the trusts have."

The dividend from Tata Sons was to be distributed for charity by the trusts. "So I should protect that," he said.

Looking ahead to the future of the group, Tata said that he personally believed that it was poised to continue to grow. "Where it would grow, I think Cyrus Mistry should have his space and define where he would like it to grow," he said.

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