Tatas Would Opt To Look Like A Fool But Not A Crook, Says Group Veteran Gopalakrishnan
Pedestrians walk past Bombay House, headquarters to the Tata Group, in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)  

Tatas Would Opt To Look Like A Fool But Not A Crook, Says Group Veteran Gopalakrishnan


The Tatas believe in admitting their mistakes upfront even at the cost of being looked like a fool by some, rather than being perceived as a crook by the majority, group veteran R Gopalakrishnan said on Monday.

"The Tatas do not try to hide their flaws. If we made a mistake, we will be the first to get up and say so," the executive director of the group's holding company Tata Sons said while launching a book by journalist Girish Kuber: 'The Tatas: How a family built a business and a nation'.

"You might as well look like a fool now rather than be caught as a crook. It is better to be a fool to a few than being looked like a crook by a lot of people," he added, presenting one of the key values on governance with which the $110-billion group lives by.

Recalling that he joined the Tatas at 52, Gopalakrishnan said the group's conduct on corporate governance was so flawless that he could not pick up holes in the functioning even at that age, when one turns more cynical in life.

There is "something magical" if a society or a nation can adopt certain values, which the leader professes, and that is what the Tata group is all about, he said.

Stating that businesses are rightly assailed for indulging in crooked deeds, he welcomed Kuber's attempt at writing a book and underlined that there is a need to celebrate those who play by the book.

Kuber said the idea to pursue the Tata story in a book was to tell the world that one can create wealth by following the laid-down rules as well.

The veteran journalist, however, cast doubts on the longevity of such an enterprise given the circumstances where not all play by the book.

"In the current atmosphere, I get scared about the future of those business activities going by the rule book, following the traditions, and are not much aggressive about business, but I get worried actually about those who follow the strategy of not playing by rule book," he said.

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