Tata transition: Cyrus Mistry is silently getting into the groove

Hundred days are too little a time to assess the chairman of a $100 billion group. But that is precisely what is happening to 44-year-old Cyrus Mistry now.

FP Editors April 01, 2013 14:49:34 IST
Tata transition: Cyrus Mistry is silently getting into the groove

Hundred days are too little a time to assess the chairman of a $100 billion group. But that is precisely what is happening to 44-year-old Cyrus Mistry now.

According to a report in the Business Standard, Cyrus, who took over as Tata Sons Chairman on 28 December, has been silent and made only two public appearances since. But he is bringing about a generational shift in the group.

Tata transition Cyrus Mistry is silently getting into the groove

Cyrus may be silent but he is steadily getting into the groove. AFP

There have been significant appointments-all of them young-at the top level of the group. Madhu Kannan (39), a former CEO of the Bombay Stock Exchange, was appointed as the head of business development department; Avani Saglani (33) was appointed as the CEO of Tata-Starbucks; Mukund Rajan, aged the same as Mistry, was made the brand custodian and chief ethics officer; Ajit Krishnakumar (38), son of R Krishna Kumar of Indian Hotels Company, has been made the head of merger and acquisition division.

His silence is characteristic of his father, Pallonji Mistry, whom an Independent article recently termed as "the richest Irishman you've never heard of".

(According to the article, Pallonji Mistry got Irish citizenship in 2003 thanks to "his wife Patsy Perin Dubash, who was born in Dublin's Hatch Street in 1939". And because of this Cyrus and his brother Shapoor hold Irish passports.)

According to the BS report, Cyrus's style of functioning has got both brickbats and bouquets. While a section of the observers says that is the way he functions, there is another section which says Cyrus's silence is not that golden, especially since he is heading a $100 billion conglomerate.

Moreover, Ratan Tata is not yet hands off.

Take for instance the Tata-AirAsia joint venture-a major development that happened after Cyrus took over. As per media reports, it was Ratan Tata who drove the group to sign the agreement.

According to a report in the Mint today, Cyrus will address the 25,000-odd employees of Tata Motors from Lake House, in Pimpri, Pune.

However, the report quotes analysts as saying that the address will be a formal exercise.

"Ratan Tata may have retired but he continues to be very much involved with the strategy of the firm's automobile business," Chandresh Ruparel, managing director of Rothschild (India), has been quoted as saying in the report.

However, it is time not yet to assess Mistry. His preference for the young blood is clear and this is sure to change the face of the group in the long term.

Cyrus may be silent but he is steadily getting into the groove.

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