Friday, January 13, 2017

Is Chandra the answer?

Musk deer emits a peculiar fragrance, but does not know it does. Eager to find the source of the fragrance, it keeps jumping up and down till it tires itself out. Natarajan Chandrasekaran, hailed as a befitting choice for chairmanship of Tata Sons has now been identified after a world-wide search for replacement of Cyrus Mistry. The solution was within. The 'search committee' spent time and money to find the obvious solution. Or, is it an obvious solution?

Reports are that Chandra is smart, diligent, humble and friendly. At 53, age is on his side. His doctor is supposed to have 'prescribed' walking for him, and he has taken the advice seriously enough to participate in marathons. There are obviously many positives about him.

But, does he possess one quality that is desperately needed to retrieve the Tata group from the reputational crisis it has recently stepped into? He has grown with TCS. Someone brought up in the Tata Culture (though I am unable to figure out what this culture really is ) may find it difficult, if not impossible, to be impervious to pressures, covert and if necessary overt, from Ratan Tata. If he has been chosen for his performance, it is to be welcomed. But if the consideration has been to continue the Ratan Tata legacy and to avoid the risk of yet another Mistry, it spells further trouble for the group. The million dollar question is: Will Chandra be empowered to do what he thinks is correct?

Added on January 15: Chandra is the youngest of three illustrious brothers. The first is N.Srinivasan, Director (Finance) in Murugappa Group companies. N.Ganapathy Subramaniam is the COO of TCS.

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