Cyrus Mistry may have stepped down from the boards of all listed Tata Group companies on Monday, but he clarified that he has no plans to step down from the board of Tata Sons, the group’s holding company in which his family holds 18.5 per cent.
Cyrus Mistry, who was ousted from the post of chairman of Tata Sons on October 24 and removed as TCS chairman on December 13, abruptly stepped down from the boards of all the listed Tata Group companies on Monday. And very soon, the boardroom tussle is expected to shift to the courtroom.
Mistry, however, said that if the shareholders of the holding company want, they can vote him out.
During an interview to Times of India, Mistry, when asked about whether he will step down from Tata Sons too, said, “No, That wasn’t discussed. It wasn’t a consideration. I didn’t step down from the other (TCS, Tata Industries and Tata Tele-services) boards so, I was removed from those boards.”
Mistry said that the trustees of Tata Trusts, Ratan Tata and Noshir Soonawala, who had retired from Tata Sons, refused to give up participation in key decisions involving Tata Sons and operating Tata companies, including those listed in India and abroad.
Cyrus Mistry, who was ousted from the post of chairman of Tata Sons on October 24 and removed as TCS chairman on December 13, abruptly stepped down from the boards of all the listed Tata Group companies on Monday. The boardroom tussle is expected to shift to the courtroom.
Mistry said he will continue to fight to improve governance at India’s largest conglomerate “till the last breath”.
“Having deeply reflected on where we are in this movement for cleaning up governance and regaining lost ethical ground, I think it is time to shift gears, up the momentum, and be more incisive in securing the best interests of the Tata Group,” Mistry said in a statement issued yesterday.
“Towards this end, the objective of effective reform and the best interests of employees, public shareholders and other stakeholders of the Tata Group (the very people I sought to protect as chairman) would be better served by my moving away from the forum of EGMs. It is with this thought in mind that I have decided to shift this campaign to a larger platform and also one where the rule of law and equity is upheld,” added Mistry.
Following Mistry’s ouster from Tata Sons’ board on October 24, several Tata Group companies called for EGMs to decide whether or not to remove Mistry from their respective boards.
Tata Sons had earlier asked Mistry to follow his own assertions on corporate governance and step down from the boards of Tata companies.
Tata Industries was the first Tata Group company that removed Mistry from its Board of Directors. The company had taken the decision at its EGM held on December 12.
Last Tuesday, TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) ousted Mistry as a Director of the company in its EGM.
On December 14, Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) had removed Mistry from its Board of Directors.
Other Tata Group companies like Indian Hotels has called its EGM on December 20, followed a day later by Tata Steel. Tata Motors has convened its EGM on December 22, while Tata Chemicals will hold its extra-ordinary general meeting on Friday and Tata Power on December 26.
Mistry’s decision came just 16 hours before the start of the Indian Hotels EGM called by Tata Sons to remove him from its board. Besides Indian Hotels, Tata Sons had also called EGMs of Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Chemicals and Tata Power. Tata Global is the only listed company where the Tatas had not called an EGM.
Mistry said that since his October 24, the day he was removed as Tata Sons chairman, his acions were aimed at saving the legacy of values and ethics of Tata Group founder Jamsetji Tata.
“It was never about me. I never hankered for the chairman's position at Tata Sons in the first place and neither do I want to hanker on for that position. It is the future of the Tata Group that is at stake and not my office,” said Mistry.
On the other hand, Tata Sons responded to Mistry’s resignation, saying that “strongly resented his claims to align with the values and ethics of Jamsetji Tata”.
Stating that Mistry's resignation was a "deliberate strategy" since the "overwhelming majority of shareholders" were against him, Tata Sons said he "continues to make baseless, unsubstantiated and malicious allegations using selective disclosures of information".