Post Mistry Feud, Tatas Putting Their House in Order

Chair­man’s of­fice at Bom­bay House be­ing re­stored to its for­mer glory

The Economic Times - - Front Page -

Megha Man­davia & Baiju Kalesh

Mum­bai: Bom­bay House’s fourth floor, home to the chair­man of Tata Sons, is be­ing re­stored to its tra­di­tional glory of the 1980s when JRD Tata and his suc­ces­sor Ratan Tata oc­cu­pied the cor­ner of­fice of the $103-bil­lion con­glom­er­ate that chron­i­cles In­dia’s jour­ney into in­dus­trial adult­hood.

The ren­o­va­tion at the 93-yearold build­ing, with an un­der­stated stone façade rem­i­nis­cent of colo­nial Bom­bay, co­in­cides with the Fe­bru­ary 21 in­au­gu­ra­tion of new chair­man N Chan­drasekaran. The chair­man’s of­fice will get a new per­ma­nent oc­cu­pant about four months af­ter Cyrus Mistry lost the con­fi­dence of ma­jor­ity board mem­bers, many of whom viewed his ten­ure as one that wit­nessed de- vi­a­tions from the values defin­ing the Tata Group. Mistry had changed the com­plete lay­out of the cor­ner of­fice of Ratan Tata to ac­com­mo­date the newly in­ducted mem­bers of the Group Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil, the think tank that helped the chair­man with busi­ness de­ci­sions. Madhu Kan­nan, a for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Bom­bay Stock Ex­change, Nir­malya Kumar, pro­fes­sor at Lon­don School of Eco­nom­ics, and Har­ish Bhat, a Tata Group vet­eran, had shared the space.

The four-sto­ried Bom­bay House was built by Bri­tish ar­chi­tect Ge­orge Wit­tet af­ter the Tata Group marked In­dia’s en­try into modern in­dus­try by build­ing a steel plant and a waterfront ho­tel that pre­dated the Gate­way of In­dia. Bom­bay House, whose in­te­ri­ors have re­mained al­most un­changed for many decades, was the set­ting where the idea of In­dia’s first air­line was born.

Ren­o­va­tion at build­ing co­in­cides with the Feb 21 in­au­gu­ra­tion of new boss Chan­drasekaran

Ex­ec­u­tives sit­ting at Bom­bay House founded and nur­tured a com­pany that would later be­come In­dia’s most valu­able – Tata Con­sul­tancy Ser­vices (TCS) – and con­cep­tu­alised the Corus ac­qui­si­tion, a record for a South Asian com­pany.

For the ren­o­va­tion start­ing soon, the Tata Group has also hired an ar­chi­tect to sup­port an in­ter­nal team. “These are all in­ter­nal mat­ters of the group,’’ a Tata Sons spokesper­son told ET. A spokesper­son for Mistry de­clined to com­ment.

As vice-chair­man and an un­der-study to Ratan Tata, Mistry had worked from the of­fice of for­mer Tata Sons board mem­ber JJ Irani for a year. Even af­ter his el­e­va­tion as chair­man when Rata Tata re­tired at 75 in De­cem­ber 2012, Mistry con­tin­ued to use the same of­fice. When Ratan Tata be­came in­terim chair­man on Oc­to­ber 24, 2016, he used the of­fice on the west wing of the build­ing for his busi­ness meet­ings. Chan­drasekaran, known pop­u­larly as Chan­dra, will move to Bom­bay House from the TCS of­fice down the road in Mum­bai’s Fort area. He will op­er­ate tem­po­rar­ily from the of­fice oc­cu­pied by for­mer Tata Sons di­rec­tor R Gopalakr­ish­nan, who re­tired from the board in 2015. Chan­drasekaran will fi­nally set­tle in the of­fice oc­cu­pied by Ratan Tata when the ren­o­va­tion is over.

Af­ter Ratan Tata oc­cu­pied the cor­ner of­fice in 1991, he re­tained the set-up and dé­cor left by his pre­de­ces­sor, JRD Tata, for sev­eral years. Later, the fur­ni­ture, JRD's ta­ble, arm­chair, and of­fice sta­tionery were moved to Pune, where a replica of his of­fice has been set up at Tata Cen­tral Archives build­ing. Bom­bay House is owned by group en­tity As­so­ci­ated Build­ing Com­pany, which earns rents from com­pa­nies that have of­fices within the premises.

TIRUPATI VISIT

Mean­while, Tata Sons Chair­man-des­ig­nate N Chan­drasekaran on Fri­day of­fered prayers at the fa­mous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara. Though a fre­quent visi­tor to the hill tem­ple in his ca­pac­ity as the CEO of Tata Con­sul­tancy Ser­vices, this was his maiden visit to the shrine af­ter be­ing ap­pointed as the Chair­man of Tata Sons tem­ple sources said.

Af­ter of­fer­ing wor­ship at the shrine along with his wife, Chan­drasekran was hon­oured with sa­cred silk cloth and prasadams by the Tiru­mala Tirupati Dev­asthanams Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer D Sam­ba­siva Rao while the priests be­stowed bless­ings on him.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.