January 2024 | N Chandrasekaran
2023 has been a tumultuous year. The world faced an array of destabilising trends, from escalating geopolitical tensions to the mass adoption of generative AI to the ever-accelerating push toward sustainability. Some of these trends have been welcome; others much less so. But all of them have made the rules and processes governing our world trickier to navigate—and all of them have added to the pressure to adapt.
I am thrilled that in this difficult global context, our Group performed admirably in 2023. Our transformation—following the principles of Simplification, Synergy, Scale, Sustainability, Supply Chain and AI—has progressed well across our companies. There are too many successes to list here. We also celebrated Tata Technologies’ historic IPO, and the announcement of new gigafactories—exciting moves that I am confident will bring resilient growth for decades to come.
Away from the companies, as part of our commitment to tackling India’s unique challenges, we launched the Tata Transformation Prize, an award celebrating pathbreaking research and development. The first entries have already vindicated my faith in India’s exceptional science and research community. I am certain that with the right support, transformational breakthroughs will come across multiple fields.
This year, it has been immensely satisfying to see our commitment to innovation and progress show up so clearly in our financial results. In 2023, the combined market capitalisation of Tata Group companies increased by 32%, nearly double the rate of the Sensex, which rose by 17%.
Such successes would be impossible without the adaptability, resilience and dedication of our people, so I would like to thank each of you for your hard work this year. I could not be more proud.
Looking ahead to 2024, we must be prepared for more disruption and volatility. The complexity of global governance will reach new heights as the world finds new rules to protect data privacy, curb inflation, reduce carbon emissions and perceptions of AI risk. Geopolitics is also a potential source of volatility. 2024 is a year of elections, with 40 nations heading to the polls.
But while the near-term global outlook feels shadowed with uncertainty, India’s future is bright. In 2023, we fared better than most. We showed admirable leadership at a historic G20 summit. Our economy is thriving, with GDP on track to double to USD 7 trillion over the next five years. And I am certain that India is poised to benefit from the aforementioned shifts transforming the world. Generative AI, for example, is a potential antidote to our access and inequality problems—provided we are careful and introduce the right rules.
In a year of encouraging news for India, two stories stood out.
The first was our trailblazing lunar mission, in which we became the first nation to successfully land a craft on the south pole of the moon. This incredible feat, achieved with a modest investment of only INR 600 cr, won admiration at home and abroad, and offered a timely demonstration of what our nation can do. Often, we talk in excited terms about India’s future. But this was a vivid reminder of how far we have already come.
The second is the Indian cricket team’s journey in the World Cup. I know the loss in the final was enormously disappointing. Like many Indians, I have great memories of the World Cup wins in 1983 and 2011, and huge admiration for the XIs led by Kapil and Dhoni. But the cricket played by Rohit’s team on the way to the final was more clinical than anything I have seen. The confidence and attitude was contagious, and a wonderful lesson in the value of resilience, preparation, mental strength and collaboration.
Such qualities will be crucial as the Group moves forward with our transformation journey next year. In 2024, there are three areas to prioritise.
First: execution. Now that we know what we have to do, and our plans have momentum, we need to think hard about how we can execute flawlessly and with speed.
Second: customer satisfaction. The next decade will belong to companies who excel in giving customers excellent experiences. With our growing footprint in consumer businesses, we have to bring empathy to every interaction—be that in Air India, Tata Motors or Titan. Brand Tata must be recognisable across all companies.
Third: technology. Our Group’s aim should not be merely to adopt, or adapt to, technology. We need to shape it, and make it. This New Year, I urge each company to appoint an AI champion to proactively pursue the benefits of AI—economically, operationally and socially.
Thank you again for your contributions in 2023. I wish you and your family a happy, peaceful and healthy 2024.