In The Wall Street Journal on November 7th 2016, CommCore SVP Dale Weiss provides a situational analysis of Tata’s recent move of unexpectedly ousting its chairman in favor of the man who held the position before him.
“Large family-controlled organizations often treat communications much like a monarchy from days long ago: They inform their subjects only what they need to know, when they need to know it. For Tata Sons, in the middle of its sudden and uncharacteristic sacking of Chairman Cyrus Mistry, it released a terse statement, then a short rebuttal of Mr. Mistry’s allegations.
“It is no mystery that Mr. Mistry’s charges were not appreciated by Tata Sons board members; the company‘s response in a formally written rebuttal letter contained words such as ‘ethos,’ ‘unforgivable’ and ‘besmirch.’ While seeking to defend its reputation against unfavorable allegations, the first line of the statement reads: ‘It is a matter of deep regret that a communication marked confidential to Tata Sons board members has been made public in an unseemly and undignified manner.’ This raises the question: Are they more upset that Mr. Mistry called them out or that a letter went public?
“The company distributed these messages via its website and Twitter account. Perhaps it should think about other available channels. Why not shoot a reassuring video with its interim chairman and post it on the company’s official YouTube channel? Reading is one thing but stakeholders can benefit from seeing and hearing, as well.
“Mr. Mistry’s family owns a sizable position of the Tata conglomerate’s stock and they married into the Tata family. Mr. Mistry wasn’t just an employee, but arguably the heir apparent and part of an alliance. Tata’s communications surrounding the abrupt sacking is the present-day equivalent of ‘Off with his head!’”