JRD's benevolent leadership style didn't help because the satraps torpedoed a strategic plan drawn up by Ratan in 1983 for the group - many say the blueprint included mergers and acquisitions, and plans on how to harness group synergy and getting into new-age businesses.
It also included a detailed plan to improve financial controls in a group that had started seeing a fair bit of financial misappropriation.
Taking over from JRD as group chairman in 1991 didn't improve the situation as the satraps continued to refuse to toe the line of a group vision.
And then came the masterstroke - the Tata Sons board gave full support to his proposal for enforcing a rule that set 75 as the retirement age for all Tata directors. While this helped the exit of Seth (his son also quit as managing director of Tata Chemicals), ill-health hastened Palkhivala's departure.
Ajit Kerkar, who ceased to be the executive chairman of Indian Hotels when he turned 65, was of course turfed out for different reasons.
Image: JRD Tata
Image Courtesy: Tata Group