From Air India to Tata Neu, Chandrasekaran reveals how new-age biz will turn high-flying | Mint
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Business News/ News / India/  From Air India to Tata Neu, Chandrasekaran reveals how new-age biz will turn high-flying
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From Air India to Tata Neu, Chandrasekaran reveals how new-age biz will turn high-flying

Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran said he is taking all these businesses 'very seriously' and added, 'We will take a decision this year'.

Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran (HT_PRINT)Premium
Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran (HT_PRINT)

Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran has shared the gist of how India's oldest conglomerate will strengthen its new-age businesses such as Tata Neu, Air India, 5G, and lithium-ion batteries.

In an interview with Business Today, the business magnate said he is taking all these businesses 'very seriously' and added, 'We will take a decision this year'.

Chandrasekaran told the BT magazine, "The batteries will be launched shortly, 5G is ready and Tata Neu will only get better. Air India is taking the right [decisions] and on electronics, we have to do the assembly bit, and decide on fabs".

Calling Air India more than a business, the industrialist stated, "Our goal is to make it a world-class brand and at the end of the day, only time will tell. Our sincere effort is to create a great experience. You will see one Air India this year".

Tata Group has four airlines -- Air India, Air India Express, AIX Connect, and Vistara, which is a joint venture with Singapore Airlines. The group is in the process of merging Air India Express and AIX Connect as well as Vistara with Air India. Tata Group acquired the debt-burdened Air India for 18,000 crore in January 2022.

Speaking about the challenges, Chandrasekaran, who took charge of Tata Sons in 2017, said the Group's combined profit was less than TCS’ profit at that time.

The business tycoon said he wrote off 50,000 crore in telecom to bring stability. However, with the ‘3S’ strategy—‘simplification, synergy and scale’, he said the large companies are well-positioned now.

"The group had a lot of complexities and there were financial challenges as well. My job was to stabilise the group, assure all stakeholders and go about the process of building teams. One key part was to build a ‘One Tata’ culture, where everybody can sit together, raise the aspirations of different companies and show what we can achieve as a team," Chandrasekaran said.

Speaking about his strategies, the business tycoon came up with the following principles-- ‘fitness first, performance next’—[where] fitness referred to a focus on the balance sheet. Another was ‘direction first, velocity next’ which meant to run instead of worrying about the speed, and the third was the ‘3S’ strategy—‘simplification, synergy, and scale’.

On expansion plans of the Tata Group's businesses, Chandrasekaran said, "Initially, my approach was to have a certain number of verticals. Now I feel we should be in certain industries with respect for tradition and evolve them for the future. We are therefore creating new businesses and transforming the old ones".

Further, calling B2C a significant model for Tata Group, Chandrasekaran said, " I truly believe the future of the consumer business is to know how to play the digital game regardless of which industry one is in". Chandrasekaran also said he is a big believer in the concept of omni-channel.

"I think we have a very strong footprint across several consumer formats. We will then build a very strong value proposition through Tata Neu. Already, we have a huge loyalty engine, plus there are opportunities across businesses," he added.

Tata Neu was launched last year, but the super app has been marred by glitches several times. Chandrasekaran acknowledged the issues with Tata Neu and told the magazine, "We did launch it and had a lot of hiccups. I wish we had not had them. There were a number of downloads and the app was heavy and it did not perform too well. Some experiences were not good and there have been glitches".

I finally said, ‘No more launches until we fix all this.’ That’s the journey so far. I think we need to add more financial services and products, the Tat Sons chairman added.

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Published: 29 Apr 2023, 09:00 AM IST
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