Tarun Das steps down as CII chief mentor

Iconic business leader Tarun Das on Tuesday stepped down as chief mentor of the Confederation of Indian Industry, the chamber he helped found some 46 years ago.

Das, 70, had stepped down as director-general of CII in 2004 after leading the industry body for 30 years, but had remained involved with the association as chief mentor. His stint in the CII saw 14 prime ministers and 17 finance ministers come and go.

Das pioneered in the country the concept of a professional chamber - such outfits till then were run largely as extended fiefs of business families. He transformed the ''clubby'' system into a muscular establishment that can lobby hard and state its case with facts and figures.

Das later summed up the change between 1963 - when man had not landed on the moon, Jawaharlal Nehru was the prime minister, and Bengal was still a force to reckon with in industry - and now.

''There has been a change in the culture and mindset of Indian industry - that it can survive without protection, that it won't be wiped out by China and that it can globally compete,'' Das told newspersons in Kolkata.

"This is an emotional moment for me. I will always be available to CII. But I am 70. I was not chief mentor for life. This is not my family business. I believe this is an important part of corporate governance," Das further said.