Exit Stage Right – Ratan Tata
With just a fortnight to go for his retirement on December 28, Ratan Tata is getting ready for a new life. His multi-storey, sea-facing house opposite Mumbai’s Colaba Post Office is being reconstructed even as Mukesh Ambani has vacated the neighbourhood recently for a gleaming residential skyscraper. Tata, who plans to continue flying and return to formally learning music, will be surrounded by many objects of the 144-year-old, $100-billion Tata Group he’s led for the past 21 years. He can, of course, anytime walk down to the two Taj Hotels. But he’s unlikely to pop in at the New Persian Restaurant on Wodehouse Road where M.F. Husain had his morning cup of Tata Tetley.
A short drive away in his Jaguar—and past thousands of Tata Indica taxis on the road—he’ll reach the outlet of the latest group venture, Tata Starbucks, near the Bombay Stock Exchange (where four Tata companies figure on the Sensex). Within walking distance is one of Tatas’ Westside retail stores, among the 10-odd new businesses the group got into under his stewardship. He could also stroll into his office in Bombay House. But Tata’s been insisting that, apart from his role as chairman of the all-powerful trusts that run the group, he is keen to move on. Like it happened with him two decades ago with uncle JRD, the burden of expectations will now have to rest on successor Cyrus Mistry.
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