MUMBAI: Veteran industry leader Ratan TataWednesday said it takes long to really understand a business leader, even though there can be an immediate admiration.
Tata, who demitted office as the executive chairman of the over USD 100 billion conglomerate in 2012, said he does not intend to join politics.
Answering a specific question on qualities he looks while choosing a candidate to run one of the companies, Tata said initially, there is a scope for generating admiration for someone but one gets to know the individual only after working with the person.
“…it takes a long time for you to really know the person you are working with,” Tata said, speaking at the Hotel Investment Conference South Asia here.
Tata had to briefly come back as the head of the Tata group in 2016 after the surprise dismissal of his successor Cyrus Mistry by the Tata Sons board for loss of confidence, till the appointment of N Chandrasekaran a few months later.
Among the over 100 companies in the group, Tata picked up the automobile business as his favourite.
“When I was the chairman of the group, I think there was a disproportionate amount of time that I expended in the automobile business because it was at that time the most exciting thing we were doing in terms of trying to indigenise the product that we would use for transport,” he said.
Tata added that he has been a pilot all his life and still has a “great deal of interest in aviation”.
He said the group can be accused of hanging on to troubled businesses for too long, conceding that “Its very difficult to give up an enterprise”.
Giving a peek into the businesses he admires, Tata said initially speaker company Bose was a favourite but the affinities have shifted to tech giants Apple and Google now.
On the macroeconomic issues, he said we need to unite ourselves for the new India which is being promised and “put all of our backing into that as we go forward.”
Tata said comfort and cleanliness, quality of service and attention to detail without being obtrusive are his pet peeves while staying in a hotel and even sheepishly admitted to nicking personal care products from hotel rooms.
“Yes I do (use amenities in the bathroom) and embarrassingly I always steal everything I can find. I dont mean the telephone and other things, he quipped.