Niira Radia shuts Vaishnavi. Tatas switch to Rediff (+Edelman) for PR

31 Oct,2011

 

 

By  A Correspondent

As captains of Indian industry and the media were busy watching Formula 1 action live in Greater Noida or on telly at their homes or tony watering holes, a PTI message quietly alerted newsdesks across the country. “Niira Radia calls it a day in communication consultancy biz,” it said, adding: ”Controversial corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, the owner of the PR firm which has Tata group and Mukesh Ambani-led RIL as its clients, has decided to exit from the business.”

 

Although the move sent shockwaves through the trade, MxMIndia learns that the announcement has been in the works for a while. Around three months. Or more.

Vaishnavi Communications, Ms Radia’s flagship company and a slew of specialised outfits, will shut shop on Monday, Oct 31 evening.

A member of the founding team reminisced to MxMIndia that this is exactly a decade after it was launched with much fanfare.

The Tatas were quick to announce that they have awarded Rediffusion with their PR mandate from November 1. Although we do not have a confirmation at the time of writing, it is rumoured that Rediffusion, which reportedly doesn’t currently have a public relations arm that can handle a large account like the entire Tata group, may in turn strike an alliance with public relations major Edelman for undertaking the PR work. Rediffusion, led by Diwan Arun Nanda, has had his share of highs and lows including competition from within the WPP fold in India of which it is a part. It is not clear whether the Tata PR account is bagged by Nanda for WPP network agency or outside of it.

An ex-staffer told MxMIndia that Ms Radia is known to take good care of her staff. “Most of the 200-odd staffers are being outplaced near-immediately and those who are not will get jobs soon.” MxMIndia isn’t certain of the number of Vaishnavi group employees. Some say it’s around 300, others say given the high attrition rate, the number has dipped.

Although all the group websites have been curiously pulled down, a list available on a cached page and according to some industry sources, the following were some of the Vaishnavi group’s clients: Tata Capital, ITC Foods, Infinity Retail, Indian Hotels (Taj), Trent, HCC, Ascendas, Voltas, Rallis, Tata Teleservices, Tata Power, Tata Chemicals, CMC Limited, Tata Steel, Tata Coffee Limited, Tata Consultancy Services, JK Tyre, Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd, CII, Tata Motors, IMG-CHENNAI OPEN 2011, Dr. Batra’s Positive Health Clinic, Bennett & Coleman & Co. Ltd provigator.com), Lavasa Corporation Ltd, Tata International, Tata Technologies, Titan, Tata Communications, Himalaya Drug Company, All India Management Association, Roots Corporation Ltd (Ginger hotels), Tata Tea, Tata AutoComp, Tata Sons, Tata Elxsi, Fresh & Honest Café ltd, Mount Everest Mineral Water Ltd, Schnider Electric, Credit Analysis & Research Ltd, Landmark, the Reliance (Mukesh Ambani) group, and actor Priyanka Chopra amongst others.

MxMIndia did not receive statements issued by various players. However, these have appeared on the Moneylife and India Today magazine sites: http://moneylife.in/article/niira-radia-shuts-down-communications-consulting-business/20974.html and http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/niira-radia-exit-from-consultancy-business/1/157997.html.

Mr Ratan Tata: The Tata Group respects the personal wishes of Niira Radia in not renewing any client mandates. She has built Vaishnavi from scratch into the company it is today, often subordinating her personal and family interests in favour of her clients’ priorities.

Reliance Industries: “We regret the decision of Ms. Niira Radia to discontinue her association with the business of communications consultancy and not renew any of her client mandates. We have enjoyed a professional and fulfilling relationship with Ms.  Radia and her team over the last three years. Ms. Radia’s commitment has been very impressive and she has always led her team in a manner that tactical developments do not lead to a de-focus on the strategic issues.

However, we do appreciate and respect her wishes for a compelling need to focus on her family and personal issues. Ms. Radia leaves behind a very capable team and an indelible mark on the communications consultancy business. We wish her the very best for the future.

Ms Niira Radia: To give precedence to my personal priorities of family and health, I have decided against renewing any client mandates and to exit the business of communications consultancy…. I thank our key clients for their understanding and mutual agreement to bring closure to this decision. I am also grateful to them for their support in taking my decision to its logical conclusion, offering assistance in mitigating the damages and thereby fulfilling all our existing contractual commitments.

 

Photograph: Fotocorp

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