‘It was a surprise to even Ratan Tata till he took the decision’

How business channels covered the Cyrus Mistry ouster

Mumbai, Oct 26: The sacking of Cyrus Mistry as the Chairman of Tata Group has been understandably bold-face headline news for the business papers and channels, and they rose up to the occasion manfully and wetted their collective pants over it. They smartly sidestepped the fact that they had absolutely no inkling that such a big event was to unfold and they also gave no clue of what will happen from now on.

Though Crank’s News team had long stopped watching television news channels in a symbolic response to TV news reporters who seem to be people who don’t read even a couple of lines, here we present a small capsule on how the main business channels handled the Mistry developments at the Tatas. Yeah, we didn’t watch the channels, but we are sure this is how the telecasts would have unfolded.

ET Now Anchor: We have breaking news coming in that Cyrus Mistry, who was the Chairman of the Tata Group, has been ousted in a dramatic board room coup that has caught everyone by surprise, except of course our Corporate Editor who knew it all along, but waited till the event to happen so that he can break it to the world. We are now joined by our Corporate Editor for more on this sensational development. (*Looking to him*) Can you break down the nitty-gritty of the events for the sake of our viewers?

Corporate Editor: Yes, our sources in the corporate corridors confirm what we knew from day one that in a totally unexpected news for all Cyrus Mistry has been shown the door as the chairman of the Tata Group. The hush-hush but swift operation also saw the return of Ratan Tata as the Chairman of the Group. Highly placed sources that we are exclusively privy to are telling us that Ratan Tata will be in charge only temporarily. Of course, the Tata Group has also confirmed the same news formally in a press release. But we will prefer to quote our own sources.

Anchor: Take us through the suspense-filled part of how Mistry was so swiftly shown the exit door?

Corporate Editor: Make no mistake about it, it was swift and sudden. And we can now reveal it to our viewers that this was an extraordinarily quiet operation that no one saw it coming, including Mistry and more importantly Ratan Tata himself. We can confirm that though this was Ratan Tata’s decision it still was a surprise to him till he took it. That’s right, Ratan Tata kept it a secret from Ratan Tata himself.

*Changes channel to CNBC*

Anchor: What are the reasons for Mistry’s unceremonious ouster?

Correspondent: Well, market gossip has it that the personal equation between Mistry and Ratan Tata had soured and there was no communication between the duo over the group’s progress. In fact, speculation is rife that Mistry may have muted the Tata WhatsApp Group and Ratan Tata wasn’t one bit impressed. Sounds far-fetched? Maybe. But in such events you can’t rule out such a possibility. It also goes to show how human these high-profile corporate czars actually are.

Anchor: Will Mistry’s exit impact the various Tata Group companies’ shares and also the stock market sentiment in general?

Correspondent: That is a pretty smart question to ask at this juncture. The smart and firm answer to it is the Tata Group companies  shares will sure be impacted one way or the other owing to these developments. And the market research heads that I got in touch with also agree that the overall market sentiment too may move this side or that side depending upon how it chooses to respond to the whole development. This is the pretty categorical assessment of almost all top brokers in the trade.

*Changes channel to NDTV Profit*

 Anchor: Is Mistry paying a price for being a non-Tata in a Tata empire?

Correspondent: You stole the words right out of my mouth. Mistry is not a Tata though his sister is a Tata. His sister Aloo is married to Ratan’s half-brother Noel. Mistry, of course, is the scion of the famous Pallonji. Mistry was the managing director of Shapoorji Pallonji & Company, which is part of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group. These Parsis are close-knit and, as you can see, even more close-knit when it comes to names. One of the reasons for the extinction of Parsis as a community is with names like, say, Pestoon, Pallon, Naval, nobody wants to procreate and further extend the family name and become a butt of more jokes.

Anchor: You mean to say that family politics may have had a hand in Mistry’s sacking…?

Correspondent: Well, let us face it, at the end of the day, they are cousins, uncles, nephews and other relatives mixed together.  And this is also about power, position and money. This is a high-stake battle, and family intrigue is an important aspect to the unfolding events at Lucknow. Oops, sorry that was meant for my ‘byte’ to the happenings in the Mulayam Yadav clan. But never mind.

*Goes back to watching comedy channels*