Kissa Kursi Ka

The Tata-Mistry brawl offers lots of interesting lessons about human behavior.

One old and time-tested lesson is that people respect the Kursi (Chair/Seat of Power) and not really the bloke sitting on it.

Cyrus Mistry has learnt this the hard way from vendors and sub-ordinates who till a month back were bowing and scraping to him.

Anil Nanda,Chairman & MD, of Rediffusion Y&R has written an open letter to Cyrus Mistry which is published on the front page of ET

He ends this very interesting letter with a stern rebuke to Cyrus :

“Please do not place selective facts about us to suit your narrative before the Media and Public.

Our reputation has been built over 43 years and I will not allow it to be tarnished in any manner whatsoever.”

Harish Bhat was a part of the Group Executive Council (GEC) which directly reported to Cyrus.

An 2015 anecdote makes for amusing reading now:

One recent afternoon, Harish Bhat, a member of the Tata Sons group executive council, a body of young leaders that provides strategic direction to the conglomerate, showed up at Phoenix, a mall in south Mumbai that is always teeming with shoppers. Bhat wasn’t there to shop but to watch people shop. He was curious about what consumers purchase and what they do before deciding to buy something. Bhat has been making frequent visits to Phoenix in recent days.

Bhat’s visits to the mall and his recent nosiness for consumer habits are all closely tied to the wave of changes sweeping across the Tata group, one of India’s largest business houses. The Tatas want to radically change the way they approach consumers. The group wants to get closer to the consumer — become a little more humble, if you will, in the process. It not only wants to understand consumer behaviour but also address their grievances.

The renewed attempts at sharpening the consumer focus have come under the direction of Tata group chairman Cyrus Mistry and Bhat is in charge of the task. “Consumer trends are top of his (Mistry’s) mind today,” says Bhat.

Harish Bhat managed to survive the firing of Cyrus Mistry and in a strange twist of events,moved a resolution to remove his former boss as the Chairman of Tata Global Beverages.

In his own words,Harish Bhat says:

“Let me start by saying that I have very high personal regard for Mr Cyrus Mistry and I continue to hold him in high personal regard. Having said that, the reason that I proposed this resolution was because I believe that having a chairman of the board who is in a position of hostility to the major promoter company which is Tata Sons, which the major promoter company of Tata Global Beverages, is really to the detriment of all stakeholders of the company including the minority shareholders of the company”

Harish Bhat seems to have taken the advice of Prof.Nirmalya Kumar (his colleague on the GEC team who was fired) to heart:

When in future anyone mentions me, please don’t say anything positive. Throw me under the bus to gain credibility in the new regime.

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