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Two of India’s biggest business entities are facing serious top level management turmoil, and with an overwhelming presence in Indian IT, the sort of troubles in question are clearly unwanted. There can be a thousand reasons to justify the break in status quo, but there is one central theme for both these entities – Tata Sons and Infosys, viz. people who legally retured really don’t want to retire. The question is simple. Did both Ratan Tata and Narayana Murthy give absolute operational independence to their designated successors post retirement? There are two major reasons – ego clashes and boredom. After all, they ruled the empires, how can they

I wouldn’t want to dwell into the details but would want to highlight one of the most irritating point in both the episodes.

Narayana Murthy was not happy at the hefty package Vishal Sikka was getting. Narayana Murthy came from the days when India is literally closed to the world. Any talent, you will have to find it in India and consequently, you will be paying Indian rates. Well, times changed. When you need world quality stuff, you will have to pay world quality. This is something like the difference between a bicycle and a race car. To need a bicycle race, you need not spend much than your competitor. May be, your competitor had a BSA SLR. You will buy an Atlas cycle. It doesn’t cost much to buy a BSA SLR or an Atlas cycle and the difference in cost between the both is not that much. Those were Narayana Murthy’s days. But, these are race car days. You can’t compete a Ferrari with a Tata Nano. If you want the quality of a Ferrari, you can’t justify the expense limit you set as slightly above that of a Tata Nano. You will have to shell money. Either shell the money or wilt away. Unless Narayana Murthy respects the point that quality is associated with cost, there will be strife.

Ratan Tata’s case is even curious. Even though he stepped down as the head of Tata Sons, he is still the head of Tata Trusts, the majority shareholder. Being an ex head of Tata Sons and currently the biggest shareholder, will he allow his successor to diverge from his mode of functioning? There will be cases of Ratan Tata acting as a voluntary freelancer and in some cases, there is unwanted advice. When the freelancing is frowned upon and if there are no takers for the advice, what happens? And, unless Ratan Tata understands that, even Chandrasekharan is going to face the same problem.

Well, we are at cross roads now. It’s upto them to decide – meddle or fade into obscurity.

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