- In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Shirin Bharucha, who represents the Tata charitable trusts on the selection panel, told us that the change at the top will in no way dilute the Tata commitment to philanthropy.
For the first time, a closer look at the selection of cyrus mistry from a member of the selection panel that chose the successor to ratan Tata. In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Shirin Bharucha, who represents the Tata charitable trusts on the selection panel, told us that the change at the top will in no way dilute the Tata commitment to philanthropy, a key criteria for all the candidates interviewed. Shirin says Cyrus was selected purely on merit, and that there was no nepotism involved.
- At the time that Ratan Tata has been at the helm, philanthropy-practices were in place. Now that there is a transition, are there any anxieties at all, whether there will be any change in emphasis for philanthropy or will there be continuity?
- I think, not at all. It was a given that this ethical platform, that this CSR angle is a must; a very strong plank on which the successor must stand.
- And that was something that emerged with Cyrus?
- No. But it was absolutely clear with all the others, that we interviewed. This was something that there would be no compromise on. No change of stand, No nuances, nothing.
- Was there any track record of Cyrus or perhaps even the SP group in this area, which cemented this attribute?
I think there was; but not naturally as much as with the Tatas cause we're a much bigger entity.
- ...and older history of philanthropy...
- That's true. But, I think, there was no two ways about him carrying the legacy forward, if not enhancing it.
- A very difficult process though; all of you went through it. It took what, a good part of almost a year?
15 months or so...
- ...15 months. To find somebody to replace Mr Tata is not easy..
- : They are very big shoes to fill, after all..
- It is an interesting choice in a way. You looked all around the world and it came back to a Bombay boy; someone who is a Parsi; someone who has had a long association with the Tatas.
- See Bombay and Parsi did not weigh with us. I'll tell you that. It had to be the most appropriate person and of course a person who would grow into the job, into the status, into the position as did Mr Tata in his time.
- When he took over; and the important thing perhaps, which hasn't been understood, is that Mr Tata remains the chairman of all the trusts. That’s a position he holds on to. So his involvement with the trust continues...
- Yes. It will be continuing.
- Are you happy with that?
- Very happy. It is a very big plus point because that sort of continuity, that sort of philosophy continuing, is of great importance. It is of great value.
- Last question. The way this has been conducted as an exercise has been quite remarkable. People have talked about it almost as a benchmark for the corporates
- Has anyone else done a succession plan like this?
- No, nobody has, with a committee that goes. The only thing that had a little bit of a question mark was that he went from being a member of the committee to a candidate. Now, was there a little bit of awkwardness?
I really shouldn't be saying this. You should ask the committee as a whole. But I will ask you a question in turn. If you found a most suitable person in ur community, would you omit him because he was in the community? I think the qualities, qualifications of the candidate must be paramount and excluding him just because happened to be a part of the community, is not a reason disqualify him.
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