Ratan Tata's Interview
If there is one Corporate head that I absolutely respect in India it is Rata Tata, the Chairman of the TATA group in India.
A recent McKinsey Interview with him tells us more about him.
companies that are not good corporate citizens—that don't hold to standards and that allow the environment and the community to suffer—are really criminals in today's world
What I feel most proud of is that we have been able to grow without compromising any of the values or ethical standards that we consider important. And I am not harping on this hypocritically. It was a major decision to uphold these values and ethics in an environment that is deteriorating around you. If we had compromised them, we could have done much better, grown much faster, and perhaps been regarded as much more successful in the pure business sense. But we would have lost the one differentiation that this group has against others in the country. We would have been just another venal business house.
I have been involved with South Africa for perhaps seven or eight years. There was such an enormous disparity between rich and poor, and I always felt that this large poor community had been exploited over the years. So I met [Thabo] Mbeki before he became president—this was in [Nelson] Mandela's time—and I said we really wanted to do something in South Africa to give to the country rather than take away from it.
We have been a very measured, very cautious group, which has looked at the market, decided what was safe, and then moved in. We need instead to lead and not just follow. We have to take more risks and gain predominance in that manner. Targeting the larger part of the income pyramid is an important part of what Tata will be doing.