New Delhi: Russi Mody, the man ousted in 1993 as the chairman and managing director of what was then Tisco and is now Tata Steel Ltd, now says he has made peace — and friendship — with Ratan Tata, the man who led the Tata group purge that led to Mody’s unceremonious dethroning as the head of the country’s biggest private steelmaker.
Moving on: File photos of Ratan Tata (left) and Russi Mody.
Mody, who turned 90 last month, gives his side of one of corporate India’s biggest boardroom battles in a biography set to be launched next Thursday in Kolkata, where he now lives the lavish and colourful life he was always famous for — and one that was at the heart of his ouster.
The biography, written by Partha Mukherjee and Jyoti Sabharwal and published by Stellar Publishers, dwells on the conflict at length.
“It could have been handled more gracefully on both the sides,” Mody says of the battle that grabbed headlines between 1991 and 1993, when the first years of the country’s economic reforms coincided with a firm but systematic pushing out of the man who ran the Tatas’ steel empire from Jamshedpur for 53 years.
“There was a time when I did and said things that had hurt Ratan Tata and Ratan had said and done things that hurt me. However, after many years of chilly relationship, I have become friends with Ratan again,” Mody says.
The book reveals the two met in public at the Taj Bengal in Kolkata last August, in addtion to two private meetings in the period that followed an initial cold three years.
The biography chronicles the episode that put the Tata scion who ultimately replaced JRD as chairman and the colourful Mody in conflict— Mody’s appointment of his adopted son Aditya Kashyap as joint managing director (and heir apparent) in Tata Steel. Mody insists he was acting solely on merit to promote the man widely seen as his blue-eyed boy. Kashyap, who left Tata Steel with Mody, died of cancer in 2006.