10 Tata Group CEOs share their outlook for the new year

Chief executive officers of 10 Tata companies highlight their expectations and aspirations from 2019


    Rajesh Gopinathan


    TV Narendran


    Guenter Butschek


    Praveer Sinha


    R Mukundan


    Bhaskar Bhat

  • IHCL

    Puneet Chhatwal


    Vinod Kumar


    Ajoy Misra


    Rajiv Sabharwal

Global Trends for 2019

  • Increase in the adoption of artificial intelligence in all aspects of businesses — captured in Tata Consultancy Services' (TCS) machine first strategy
  • Increase in business agility driven by technology, workplace, processes and people
  • Increase in deployment of IoT technologies and the associated analytics, bridging the 'physical' world and the 'cyber' world
  • Increase in focus on cyber security and data privacy, in the context of consumer facing and IoT systems
  • Growing awareness of the business possibilities in API and data ecosystems

My Focus

Business: To partner in our customers' digital transformation journeys by leveraging TCS Business 4.0TM framework and the deep contextual knowledge of our customers' businesses, systems, and processes. TCS itself will be enterprise-agile by 2020.

People: Building talent is in the DNA of our organisation. We will continue to invest in our people and continue the digital reskilling programme that we had undertaken about two years back. We will also continue to drive employee engagement initiatives such as Fit4Life and Purpose4life across the organisation.

Society: We will continue to engage with key stakeholders in the markets in which we operate, through STEM education initiatives, educational institute collaborations, raising charity through marathon partnerships, etc. In markets such as the United States and the United Kingdom, we will continue to focus on building local talent through STEM initiatives such as GoIT and IgniteMyFuture.

My New Year Resolution

I will endeavour to spend more time with my family.

Global Trends for 2019

Trade actions, the Chinese economy, rising interest rates in the United States and its impact on the currencies, and Brexit and its impact on the UK and Europe will be the areas to look out for globally.

Global megatrends that impact the industry are rising urbanisation (which is positive for the industry), development of a circular economy, and regulatory and other changes around sustainability.

I hope rising oil prices will not take inflation beyond control in India.

My Focus

I expect it to be another good year for the industry globally, and in India despite the trade issues and some concerns on the Chinese economy. For Tata Steel, the focus will be on the successful creation of the joint venture in Europe, integration of the newly acquired facilities in India and ensuring that the Kalinganagar expansion proceeds as planned.

We will focus on reducing our debt — through better operational performance and reviewing our portfolio of subsidiary companies — and improving the return on invested capital.

We also want to move faster on our digital journey as well as our journey on technology and innovation. We will continue our efforts to become a zero fatality and then a zero-harm company. We will also continue to be one of the industry benchmarks globally on corporate citizenship.

My New Year Resolution

Become fitter!

Global Trends for 2019

While the emerging trends of ACES (Autonomous, Connected, Electric, Shared) are taking prominence globally, we are adopting a CESS approach — Connected, Electric, Shared and Safe. We believe India has to become safe before it goes on to higher levels of autonomous. We will deploy the CESS strategy in our new product development, technology roadmap and communication.

We are also actively looking out for partnerships and new business models to leverage the mobility ecosystem, with steps like a separate e-mobility vertical.

In the year before the pre BS6 transition — a tipping point for the industry — the market will shift towards superior technology solutions, fully built vehicle applications and higher tonnage points. The price positioning will get more challenging with the advent of BS6 leading to internal cost pressures.

My Focus

We have learnt it the hard way that volatility is the market reality, and we better be prepared proactively to master the challenges and create more opportunities. Our objectives will remain consistent to the current turnaround plan — to gain market share across the board, achieve sustainable profitable and cash accretive growth. Our focus will be to win decisively in commercial vehicles (CV), win sustainably in passenger vehicles (PV) and win proactively in electric vehicles (EV).

With the New Year, we will give birth to two new architectures in PV. The Harrier, our first sports utility vehicle (SUV) on the Omega architecture, will arrive in Q4FY19 while the Aquila (codenamed X451) will make the market entry mid of calendar year 2019.

CVs will continue its aggression in all segments, with the Intra and Ace Gold defining new spaces in small commercial vehicles (SCV), Ultra range expanding its presence in intermediate light commercial vehicle (ILCV) and Prima and Signa demanding greater presence in medium and heavy commercial vehicle (MHCV).

We would like to leapfrog regulatory compliances and go beyond the requirements to bring safe and efficient mobility solutions. Nexon, which was awarded with Global New Car Assessment Programme (GNCAP) 5 star, making it India's safest SUV is an intent in that direction.

We stand committed to deliver a profitable and cash accretive growth in the coming year, while getting us 'FutuReady'.

My New Year Resolution

Managing quality time for personal priorities and hobbies that have taken a back seat lately. Maintaining high energy levels to remain young in mind and body.

Global Trends for 2019

Decentralisation of power: Increasing power generation from renewable energy sources, emerging energy storage applications and matching demand response are the main drivers behind this. Traditional utility business is evolving from power supply to energy service-based revenue streams, and the investments in energy too are shifting to clean fuels like wind and solar.

With the decentralisation of power, one of the biggest challenges that the industry will face is the integration of intermittent power into the grid, which requires a paradigm shift in regulations for power generators as well as distributors.

Digitisation of grid: Digital technology is going to play a critical role in improving the efficiency of the system and enhancing customer satisfaction. The advent of smart meters, new smart / IoT sensors, network remote control and automation systems will enable real-time operation of the system, better grid management and empower customers with data to manage their electricity demand and optimise their costs.

Decarbonisation of sectors: Energy storage is emerging as a key disruptor, which, when cost viable, could help store energy produced by intermittent renewable energy sources. The cost of batteries has already fallen from $1,000 per kWh in 2010 to less than $300 per kWh in 2015 and is expected to decline further soon.

The most important application of energy storage will be for electric vehicles (EV), reducing dependence on fossil fuels. India has set a goal of 30 percent EVs by 2030, and Tata Power has already taken steps towards leading the ecosystem this requires.

My Focus

  • Establish Tata Power as an industry leader in operational and financial performance and excel in all stakeholder relationships
  • Increase the share of clean energy both from generation and consumption points of view; Tata Power has set a target of increasing the share of renewable portfolio in our total generating capacity to greater than 40 percent by 2025
  • Actively look for acquisition of stressed assets for conventional thermal generation
  • Exit non-core / sub-scale investments and scale up core businesses
  • Greater use of digital technology

My New Year Resolution

Drive a spirit of enhancing knowledge and skillsets in this fast-changing business environment. Take up a healthy lifestyle. Engage with the community at large to bring about a transformation in their lives.

Global Trends for 2019

Innovation: Our innovation centres in Pune and Bengaluru are now at the heart of all new products and services being launched by both the Chemistry Ingredient Business (CIB) and the Consumer Products Business (CPB).

Sustainability: In the CIB, expansion of the Mithapur plant will be achieved without any additional carbon by focusing on energy efficiency, and energy from waste heat, solar and wind. We will also explore collaborative technology to foray into Li energy storage solution and Li battery recycling.

In the CPB, there is a continued effort to find sustainable solutions for product packaging. The shift to organic foods will also benefit our organic pulses category.

Digitisation: Our newer plants have digital technology embedded in them, reflecting the trend towards Manufacturing 4.0 from design stage itself. The customer-facing organisation will also be digitally enabled through seamless implementation of the Distributor Management System and Sales Force Automation.

My Focus

The Mithapur plant expansion will be in progress. Another Rs. 2,000 crore will be invested in the coming year to substantially raise our manufacturing capacity of soda ash and edible salt at Mithapur, by 20 percent and 40 percent, respectively. We also hope to raise capacity in the Ankleshwar plant substantially.

The CPB will see entry into new categories, some of which may be inorganic.

We also aim to deliver on growth and sectoral leadership by embracing continuous learning — as the company shifts its product portfolio towards more sustainable and innovative products — and leading in innovation and digital, both key enablers of the transformation.

My New Year Resolution

Improve fitness.

Global Trends for 2019

More hyper-local delivery companies: Brands have an advantage in collaborating with these players to take their products from street to doorstep.

Data analytics will redefine retail: Retailers can tweak their strategies with the power of data analytics — change pricing at weekends, off-peak hours, timing of activations, and display of products at the store. There are plenty of opportunities for retailers to change their strategy by harnessing the power of consumer shopping, behaviour, purchase and attitude.

Aggregators / multi-branded outlets will grow: Today's customers are spoilt for choice, and with the advent of ecommerce, they want more options and categories to choose from. Discounts and offers will drive consumers to go online.

My Focus


  • Make all our businesses increase market share by growing substantially higher than competition. For our oldest division, watches and accessories, this means getting more tech-powered; for Tanishq, it means expanding our stores to smaller towns; for Eyeplus, we will continue to take the hybrid route
  • Scale up nascent businesses such as fragrances, sarees and new brands like Mia and Zoya
  • Integrate all our stores to give customers the 'Titan under one roof' experience
  • Invest in new age technologies


  • Improve employee engagement, specifically across issues pertaining to front line retail employees
  • Build leadership capability


  • Take Design:Impact Award forward
  • Expand the reach of our corporate social responsibility effort
  • Commence journey in responsible citizenship

My New Year Resolution

Win and make no one lose.

Global Trends for 2019

The hotel industry and the hospitality sector, in general, is one of the world's fastest-growing industries.

Thanks to the large number of multi-billion-dollar companies that are opening their headquarters in locations across the globe, the number of business travellers are expected to continue rising.

Individual travel is also slated to be on the rise. The travel and tourism market is flooded with millions of new customers from all parts of the world, many of whom have access to disposable income and are willing to spend. As millennials start to have disposable income, the demand for luxurious travel will further grow.

My Focus

With demand outpacing supply in the hotel industry, we will look at increasing our share of market and consolidate ADRs (average daily rate) in key markets. We will have a continued focus in executing the company's five-year business strategy — Aspiration 2022, where we are looking at achieving 8 percent point EBITDA margin improvement. We are strongly committed to reducing our debt and growing the company whilst creating value for all our stakeholders.

We will invest in our people as it is crucial for their growth, which in turn translates into the company's growth. We already send high-performing general managers of our hotels on learning missions to Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Steel in the United Kingdom. We also have collaborations with the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore; we will look at expanding our collaborations with institutes like Cornell University in New York or the University of Lausanne in Switzerland to create a next level school of general managers certification.

Caring for the local community with corporate social responsibility programmes like hospitality, skill building and entrepreneurship, preservation of traditional arts and crafts, preservation and promotion of heritage monuments and The Responsible Neighbour Programme will remain at the heart of everything we do.

My New Year Resolution

Invest more time daily in the 4Rs — relationships, running, resting and reading.

Global Trends for 2019

As we stand on the edge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, advanced technologies are creating innovations at a speed and scale unparalleled in human history. This has resulted in many debates around the effect these changes will have on the way we work, socialise and interact — what we know for sure is that these trends will accelerate in the coming year.

There are two trends I foresee in the near term — one is the nearer term pressure on security and the other is the opportunity based on more computing at the edge. The ability for organisations and individuals to manage and control data will be high on the agenda to solve for the tech industry.

From a longer-term perspective, it relates to the implications around the displacement of white-collar roles. Our belief is that technology such as artificial intelligence will diversify human thinking rather than replace it; it has the potential to increase productivity in day-to-day life and in business and should be used without fear of job displacement.

It will be important for organisations across all industries to remember that technology in itself does not equate to digital transformation. The customer, culture and employees along with business continuity must be at the heart of every investment to unlock its potential.

My Focus

Our repositioning as a leading global digital infrastructure provider will continue to magnify in 2019. The objectives set for the business are linked to this and fundamentally all about leadership — in customer experience, in attracting and retaining the best talent and in delivering the best financial returns to our investors. Simply put, it's about leadership in what we do and how we do it.

My New Year Resolution

To stretch…
my curiosity, for learning
my body, to remain agile as I grow older
my time, to make a meaningful contribution.

Global Trends for 2019

Health and wellness: Consumers are increasingly focused on health and wellness, demanding more premium experiences and becoming more open to experimentation and new sensory experiences. Beverages like tea, coffee and water are well placed to leverage this opportunity.

Sustainability: Consumers are showing more interest in the way products are sourced, produced and sold, right down to the packaging. All the tea that we source for Tetley in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and CAA (Canada, Australia and America) is 100% Rain Forest Alliance certified. The company is also co-funding trustea — a programme that aims to transform Indian tea and so far has certified over 550 million kg of tea. We are collaborating with relevant stakeholders to find sustainable packaging solutions and mitigate and manage the packaging wastes.

Digitisation: E-retail will account for a much larger share of business than it used to. Brand communication will have to be tailored to the online ecosystem. We are driving two significant and connected initiatives as part of our digital business agenda — the Distributor Management System will give us secondary sales data and a Sales Force Automation tool. Our digital supply chain initiative is focusing on real-time visibility of information and increased supply chain velocity.

My Focus

There's immense opportunity for growth in India, our key market of focus in 2019. We will leverage white space opportunities by catering to regional flavour palates. Globally, we will focus on green, specialty, fruit and herbal teas. Our objectives also include:

  • Strengthening process efficiencies and key capabilities to build a more agile organisation
  • Re-wiring and re-energising the company to deliver profitable, sustainable and transformative growth
  • Transforming employee engagement and culture
  • Making the organisation future-ready
  • Continuing to go beyond the regular corporate social responsibility activities and making sustainability an integral part of TGB

My New Year Resolution

Making holistic fitness a part of my routine — one activity I particularly enjoy but have neglected. I plan to supplement this by sticking to a healthy diet, which includes several cups of Tetley green tea!

Global Trends for 2019

Non banking financial companies (NBFC) play a key role in creating jobs and meeting the diverse financial needs of our people across various sectors. This sector contributes towards inclusive growth, infrastructure lending and wealth creation. NBFCs will continue to exhibit healthy growth through innovation in products and services.

Technology and creation of a digitised ecosystem will drive the next phase for growth. Advanced analytics will help provide a deeper understanding of customers and their credit worthiness.

Impetus on building a robust risk management capability will continue to gain dominance.

My Focus

  • Build a diverse liability base
  • Leverage technology to bring down cost of operations
  • Draw synergy from group companies through 'One Tata – One Tata Capital' project to drive growth
  • Continuously deliver best-in-class performance to all stakeholders
  • Be bold and agile, taking on challenges, using deep customer insight to develop innovative solutions
  • Continue to integrate environmental and social principles in our businesses, ensuring that we give back to society in a sustained and meaningful way

My New Year Resolution

To achieve a better work-life balance.