April 16th, 2013
01:06 PM ET

Talking business and ethics in India

"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Ratan Tata, who until recently ran the Tata Group – India’s largest conglomerate – about ethics in business.

When you make these determinations, and as you say, it's part of the culture at Tatas that you won't get bribes, often you weren't asked, but was it difficult to institute that among all your managers, all your chief executives, because there must have been ambitious ones who wanted to get ahead at any cost?

Yes. We have 450,000 employees and I am quite open in the statement that I can't guarantee the integrity of every one of them.  What we do, when somebody breaks that code, how we deal with that person, I think, is the true index of what we will do. And when we have had a major rogue officer or director, we’ve actually prosecuted that person and the person has actually gone to jail. So, I think we have walked the talk in terms of what we have advocated, we have practiced what we have preached, as a matter of fact.

Tata Sons, the holding company that governs the entire Tata group, is two-thirds owned by charitable trusts, is that right?

Yes.

Which means that two-thirds of the income that comes from this enormous industrial and services empire goes to charity.

Yes.

Has that changed the way in which, you know, does that change your perspective on how and why you’re running it?

Yes, it has.  First of all, you know, it runs counter to the general perception that Tatas are a family company and that the proceeds of these industrial operations go to the Tata family. It does not. The family owns about two percent, collectively, of Tata Sons. And the 60s, 65 percent that goes to charity has always been seen as a noble usage of the wealth we have created from our companies, it goes back into education, medical, elevation of poverty or rural development. So, in a manner of speaking, it has always been our driving force that what we’re doing is really for plowing it back to the people of India.

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Topics: Business • Economy • India

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. deniz boro

    As the last spring rains finally settled to give the Global Earth a breathing space, I believe an Indian Masoon can wait. But talking about ethics....Give me one concrete example on either side.Call it western, northern or else.
    4 days ago I visited the Antalya Museum. The Sculpture of Mercur or that guy who had feathard shoes (Hermes) had a turtle under his feet.
    That guy represents trade . And he also represents the thieves and liers (as long as they do not get caugth)
    Do get your bearings right.

    April 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  2. 100 % ETHIO

    It seems, some Indians become wealthier so fast, like a speed of bullet (TATA...TATA>>>).

    Within few years, they got from TATA into Land Rover and Jaguar.

    However, who looks after the poor and how good is the wage for employees, comparing with the Industrial Nations Wage Standards (INWS)? When Indians travelled and study in Industrial Countries, they paid higher price than they get paid from their homeland.

    April 17, 2013 at 1:56 am | Reply
    • Sai Kiran

      Tata is avery old enterprise, they have been in the automobile business since the 1947's, so it isnt few years. Hence proved that you havent read into their history really!

      April 17, 2013 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  3. j. von hettlingen

    One of Ratan Tata's first priorities was the development of a strong brand. Tata name became trusted and respected. The group is one of the most innovative businesses in the world and young people in India now regarded Tata as an employer of choice, even if it paid lower salaries than some of its rivals.

    April 17, 2013 at 7:35 am | Reply
  4. Hahahahahahahah

    The author used the words "business" and "ethics" in the same sentence!!!! Hahahahahahahahaha

    April 17, 2013 at 9:03 am | Reply
    • wjm

      Now that's funny....

      April 17, 2013 at 11:59 pm | Reply
  5. Bitmantra_Raj

    BRICS – India is the biggest loser
    http://usinpac.com/blog/admin/brics-india-is-the-biggest-loser/

    April 20, 2013 at 2:52 am | Reply

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