Debasis Ray | Influence 100
Charting the future of public relations
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Debasis Ray

Head — Communications
Tata Trusts
India


Debasis Ray re-emerged as the key communications figure at iconic Indian conglomerate Tata last year, during the bruising boardroom battle between Ratan Tata and ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry. A 12-year veteran of the company, Ray had previously served as Tata’s corporate communications chief, before decamping for a brief stint leading communications at Larsen & Toubro. In September 2016, Ray took on the role of public affairs head and spokesperson at Tata Trusts, helping the company navigate its PR crisis, marshalling a range of PR firms and solidifying his position as Ratan Tata’s key PR lieutenant.

Can you share a moment in your career that you recognized PR's direct impact on business performance?
I once dealt with a trade boycott of the organisation I used to then work for; the matter was resolved solely through PR.

What are the industry's biggest challenges and opportunities? 
The biggest challenge is establishing authenticity.
The biggest opportunity is today one can go direct to one's audiences.

How do you handle the unexpected?
I step back, recall whether I have ever been faced with a similar situation, and recollect what did I do. There has been a situation or two, when there was no precedent. One has just been honest and truthful.

How do you relax?
Weekend running.

Book/movie/TV show/podcast that teaches a valuable lesson about PR?
In recent times, the film, 'Spotlight'.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
in government.