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

Ratan Tata

His 20 years at the helm was enough time to charter course. Quite often an organisation has played out one course and is ready to go in a different direction, he said.

Often, an unwillingness to have that "course correction brings about the demise of an organisation because when you bring fresh blood into it, he sees things in another way", said Tata said.

The group would continue to grow at the same kind of growth that it had achieved but the patriarch warned, "competition is growing all the time and sustainability of business is becoming more and more difficult".

He went on to say, "So I am sure Cyrus will bring new ideas and new things. I feel very confident that the organisation and his leadership will grow."

Asked about the changes he had not been able to achieve in the group, Tata said that he had wanted a more open, flat organisation where there is not much hierarchy, where there is much more informal working relationship at all levels.

"We are very hierarchical, not feudal – given to honouring years of experience... We don't touch each other's feet but we still almost bow down every time when one passes."

Describing his long tenure as a "journey of great learning", Tata said that he had a role model to look up to in Mr J R D Tata whom he had got to know about six years after he joined the group.

He knew him but was not close to him and they had come close together because they were both pilots.

"I have been flying since I was 17 and when he came to Jamshedpur, it was flying which he liked to do and I liked to do. That brought us close and created a friendship between us which grew over the years," he said of the elder Tata.

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