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What made Arun Nanda take on Cyrus Mistry?

Nanda, in his open letter to Mistry, accused him of leaking selective data about his company to the media

What made Arun Nanda take on Cyrus Mistry?

Nanda, in his open letter to Mistry, accused him of leaking selective data about his company to the media

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | November 18, 2016

(Left) Arun Nanda with Cyrus Mistry (Right) (Left) Arun Nanda with Cyrus Mistry (Right)

One must have been living under the proverbial rock to have missed the whole Tata-Mistry fiasco and letters that was the flavour of the season.

Arun Nanda, Chairman and Managing Director, Rediffusion Y&R, hit back at Cyrus Mistry through an open letter which was published in a leading daily as an advertisement.

To trace the reason behind this fresh attack on the ousted Chairman of Tata Group, one will have to go back to the nine-page letter Ratan Tata had written but a week ago. In the letter, Ratan Tata had accused Mistry of increasing expenses and failure to turnaround inherited hotspots.

Mistry, on his part, had then claimed that Ratan Tata had made questionable investment decisions and spoken about a cost-heavy PR machinery. In the same statement, he had spoken about the replacement of Nira Radia’s Vaishnavi Communications by Arun Nanda’s Rediffusion Edelman.

Rediffusion was appointed to handle the Tata Group Public Affairs/Public Relations mandate on November 1, 2011 when the Group’s contract with Vaishnavi Communications came to an end on October 31, 2011.

Mistry had claimed in his statement that while Vaishnavi Communications was being paid Rs 40 crore per year, Rediffusion was signed up for Rs 60 crore per year. His statement also mentioned that a part of this PR infrastructure was also provided to the Tata Trusts, while paid for by Tata Sons.

Accusing Mistry of leaking selective data about his company to the media, Arun Nanda wrote a nine-pointer open letter addressed to him.

In his letter, Nanda gives the details of the contract and asks Mistry, “You had over two years to decide whether to continue with us or exit the contract, with a notice period. Why did you not exercise this option and instead continued with us after November 2014?”

“Why did you ask Tata Sons for this contract to be extended for a further period beyond October 2016?” the letter further stated.

The letter then asks Mistry to not place selective facts about the organisation to suit his narrative before the media and the public.

“Our reputation has been built over 43 years and I will not allow it to be tarnished in any manner whatsoever,” ends the letter.

So is the pen mightier than the sword in this context too?

Calling the letter shocking and uncalled for, Amith Prabhu, Co-creator, Praxis and Manifest; Dean, Indian School of Communications & Reputation for Post-Graduation, said, “I was shocked when I saw the letter this morning. I think this was uncalled for. If Arun Nanda wanted to address Cyrus Mistry’s statement he should have addressed it point by point and addressed the actual point in Cyrus Mistry’s statement, he has not addressed that. People who did not know what the matter was will be wondering what is going on. I also think it is a sheer waste of money, it doesn’t benefit anybody. It is just making senior respected people look undignified.”

“I don’t think the letter makes any sense. I don’t see what purpose it serves or what is it trying to achieve. Other than getting attention I don’t see how it helps in any way. It is just a publicity gimmick,” said Jaideep Shergill, Founding Partner, Pitchfork Partners.

The letter:


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