Maybe we missed it…but we haven’t seen any interviews or quotes from the senior management of Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel yet. Such appearances are long over due. At a minimum…a very senior official of the Hotel should appear on camera and express grief at the loss of life of many of their customers and employees and gratitude for the courage and sacrifice of Indian law enforcement and security personnel who brought the terrorist siege to an end.
We are not sure why hotel officials haven’t been out there yet — but one bet is that corporate lawyers are advising them to stay off camera until the smoke literally and figuratively clears. “Don’t say anything” is the advice that too frequently comes from legal advisers — for fear that whatever is said will be used against the company in future law suits.
That kind of advice needs to be ignored. One way or another, law suits are inevitable. But the hotel has only a brief window of opportunity to portray themselves as innocent victims as well. Soon the finger pointing will begin about the lack of security, lack of planning and possible inadequate screening of hotel employees. The hotel management needs to worry about the trust of potential future guests as much as they do about the wrath of relatives killed and injured in the terrorist attack. Time is short when you are trying to get on the side of the angels. Taj Mahal Hotel management may be about to miss the boat.
Update: 11-30-08 As commentor below notes, Ratan Tata, Chairman of the company which owns the Taj Mahal hotel, has now given an interview to CNN. If he made positive comments they have gone unreported however. Instead, he is quoted thusly:
“It’s ironic that we did have such a warning and we did have some measures,” Tata said.
“People couldn’t park their cars in the portico where you had to go through a metal detector,” he said, explaining one of the measures.
Not what we had in mind.