LEAD School
LEAD School

Backstab House

EducationWorld August 2021 | Postscript

ON THE SUBJECT OF HARD-KNUCKLED industry tycoons who brazenly decline to discharge their IOUs, Ratan Tata (RT), currently chairman emeri­tus of the Tata Group, takes the prize. Several decades ago when the chairmanship of Tata Sons — holding company of the Tata Group — was up for grabs on the passing of the highly-respected J.R.D. Tata in 1993, Ratan was routinely being rubbished by Tata Steel chairman Russi Mody, who believed he was the best man to succeed JRD. At that time, RT made his case to your correspondent, then editor of Businessworld and later columnist with Sunday and Mumbai-based daily The Independent. On merits, your editor supported RT’s candidature.

Several years later after your correspondent promoted EducationWorld with laudable national objectives, and this publication was struggling to survive, RT rejected a request of modest advertising support from the Tata Group, pleading abject poverty. Such ingratitude and back-stabbing comes easily to this unwarrantedly lionised tycoon. In 2013, he appointed Cyrus Mistry as chairman of Tata Sons, and soon back-stabbed him for resisting back-seat driving. Following Mistry’s ouster, RT’s hand-picked nominee N. Chandrasekaran, then CEO of Tata Consultancy Services, was appointed as the pliant chair­man of Tata Sons. Thereby hangs another tale.

TCS (revenue: Rs.164.300 crore in 2020-21) is the most successful company of the Tata Group. This com­pany was built byte by byte by the late Fakir Chand Kohli (1924-2020), the most extraordinary professional busi­ness leader in the history of India Inc.

In 2007, Kohli sanctioned the TCS and Education­World annual TCS-EW Teachers Awards to celebrate the country’s best primary and secondary school teachers. However, after Chandrasekaran was appointed CEO of TCS in 2009, he promptly cancelled the awards project funded by TCS, back-stabbing FCK who had appointed him CEO. Since then, several proposals made to TCS to keep FCK’s memory alive by reinstituting the annual teachers awards as the F.C. Kohli-EW awards, have been rejected by Chandra’s handpicked successor Rajesh Gopinath. A succession of back-stabbers are flourishing in Bombay House, HQ of the Tata Group. Alas poor JNT!

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