Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry almost appeared like father and son duo picture perfect in newspapers during the time of the announcement new head of the Tata Group. Who knew soon they will be embroiled in an ugly boardroom and later courtroom fight.
Tata and Mistry boardroom tussle generated curiosity all across the world. People like me who have little to no knowledge of the corporate politics were also curious to know what exactly transpired.
As mentioned in the book, even I thought Cyrus Mistry is here to stay forever as the chairman running the Tata group of companies until his retirement.. So his sacking came as a shock. This was one reason the book Tata Vs Mistry by Deepali Gupta caught my attention and I immediately knew I had to read it.
How The Events Unfolds
The author Deepali Gupta had conducted many interviews to gather the inside information, referred to various documents like press releases, court recordings, meeting minutes to fill in the gaps in the entire episode of Tata and Mistry row. She managed to draw a wholesome picture for us to imagine the boardroom spat and functioning, voting and power of shareholders.
In doing so, she also wrote about the backdrop of complex company structure of Tata Group right from its inception. And also in detail about Cyrus Mistry's family and their enterprise. Mistry indeed has an interesting family tree.
Not Biased, But Not Conclusive
The author Deepali Gupta has tried giving both side stories without being biased. There were arguments and counter arguments, allegations and explanations.
Ratan Tata argued that Cyrus Mistry’s performance was not satisfactory and his conduct and management style was not per Tata’s standard. While Mistry retaliate by saying his hands were always tied due to excessive interference by Tata Trustee held by Ratan Tata. The Groups deteriorating performance is the legacy which he inherited from Ratan Tata.
But somehow I failed to draw any conclusions. Was Ratan Tata really finding it difficult to let go the reins of his corporate empire or it was really half hearted attempts by Cyrus Mistry to turn around the fortunes of many loss bearing companies in the Tata group?
Ultimately, you have to rely on court verdict. Judges know better than anyone else. It comes in detail at the end of the book.
More From Mistry POV
Last few chapters were about many loss making companies of the Tata group like Tata Steel Europe, Tata Motors, Air Asia and Vistara, Tata Teleservices. Some of which seemed good business decisions and acquisitions by Ratan Tata taken for these companies backfired due to economic depression of 2008 and became eye sore swinging the fortune of the group between profit and loss.
All these chapters seems to be written from the Mistry's perspective. In fact, I felt the whole book has covered and included more of Mistry's viewpoints and his arguments and less of Ratan Tata's. The latter's side story didn't find many pages. May be because Mistry was more scathing and open in his criticism.
No Clear Perception
The book Tata Vs Mistry seriously lacks any new insights or some real solid analysis helping you to come to a conclusion, take you deep down to the roots of the problem. Obviously, without the inputs from the two lead protagonist it is not possible to dig any further.
If you want to get yourself acquainted with the entire episode of Cyrus Mistry hiring and firing from the chairmanship of Tata Sons and later from board of directors as well, then Tata Vs Mistry is a good read. Otherwise, the book fails to take you any deeper than already known.