Coronavirus impact: Tata CEOs to review 2021 business plans

Mumbai: Tata Group CEOs will review the 2021 business strategies of their companies with the Covid-19 pandemic having significantly impacted the group’s key markets in Europe, the US, UK, China, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates, said people with knowledge of the matter.

Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran outlined plans to deal with the coronavirus-fuelled crisis at a conference call held recently with the CEOs of Tata Power, Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Tata Global Beverages Ltd (TGBL), Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Tata Chemicals among others, said top executives.

The group has also asked CEOs to form support groups within their companies to help face the challenge. Employee welfare and minimising business risks have been given top priority, they said.

Some employees of JLR and Tata Steel are said to have been quarantined. CEOs have been given the freedom to take independent financial decisions to ensure employee safety.

Tata International, TCS, Tata Steel, TGBL and JLR have employees in Europe, the US, UK and China, among the regions worst hit by the outbreak.

Tata Motors, Tata Realty, Tata Communication and Indian Hotels Co. Ltd (IHCL) have adopted work-from-home policies. Others are expected to follow suit as the situation develops, officials said.

Tata Sons did not comment on ET’s queries.

Chandrasekaran was cited as saying that business travel needs to be curbed as this posed the risk of the disease spreading. All leaders have been asked to avoid face-to-face meetings for some time. Chandrasekaran also asked CEOs to ensure that employees maintain social distancing at all times. All employees need to be provided the same level of care, regardless of their designation, he said.


Leaders should use this period to draw up plans to step up productivity, focus on resilience and getting work done in the best possible manner, the chairman was cited as saying.

Tata Sons has infused Rs 20,000 crore of growth capital in group companies over the last three years even as legacy issues in sectors such as telecom and power with a highly challenging global business environment are keeping Chandrasekaran on his toes. He’s been balancing capital allocation to chase growth against writeoffs in the three years since he took charge in February 2017.

Consumer-focused group companies such as Titan, Trent, IHCL and TGBL grew faster than flagship companies such as Tata Steel, Tata Motors and Tata Power, which continue to battle an economic downturn. Total group debt has remained flat in the past three years at about Rs 3 lakh crore thanks to rising cash with the group’s largest company TCS. Tata Sons will undertake some portfolio restructuring including tough decisions in terms of exiting businesses once immediate issues relating to Tata Steel Europe and Tata Power are resolved.

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