Former chairman of Tata group, Cyrus Mistry was killed in a road accident in Palghar near Mumbai on Sunday. As this incident has shocked the whole corporate India, Industrialist Ratan Tata’s studied silence at the untimely demise has, therefore, come as a bit of a surprise.
A shocking demise
Cyrus Mistry was cremated in Mumbai on Tuesday 6th September. Industrialists, politicians, and his family members attended the funeral. The 54-year-old former Tata Sons chairman’s death in an accident on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai highway has shocked corporate India.
However, there was no word from Indian industrialists and the former chairman of Tata Sons about the demise of Mistry. It seems uncharacteristic for a man like Ratan Tata to not publicly talk about this tragic turn of events. But it is also possible that Ratan Tata, being a private person, has expressed his condolences to the Mistry family in private.
There is also an added reason why Ratan Tata’s public statement did not come out. The recent history of litigation and hatred has come to characterize the relationship between the two personalities.
Relationship between the two personalities
In an exclusive interview, Mukund Rajan, who was Brand Manager for the Tatas under Cyrus Mistry, said there was much bitterness between Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry till the end and they could never negotiate.
”Mr. Tata was extremely hurt by many of the allegations which were leveled in the media and otherwise in some of the filings in court. Obviously, there was huge bitterness between the two individuals. But one would have hoped that now — there is obviously no reconciliation that is ever going to be possible — people need to put the past behind and just look ahead. I think both individuals wanted the best for the Tatas. And I think that it is owed to the Indian public that the memory of what Cyrus stood for continues to inform a lot of what the Tata group strives to achieve in the years ahead,” Mr. Rajan said, reported in NDTV.
Rajan portrayed Cyrus Mistry as someone who always had the best interests of the group at heart, and who never tried to take credit for himself.
“He was surprised by suggestions that perhaps people in Tatas’ close group felt he was trying to take the group in a different direction, take credit for himself and change the values of the group in the manner that Mr. Tata would not have approved of. And I think that started a set of issues that eventually led to his separation from the group and the lengthy court cases.”
The rest of the things that happened between Cyrus and Ratan will probably remain suppressed by many layers of secretiveness. But given the nature of the current tragedy and the sudden sadness, Ratan Tata could have set aside all past differences, showing the extraordinary sense of etiquette that has marked his entire corporate career and rightfully occupied the higher moral ground.