Boardroom war: Ratan Tata, Cyrus Mistry to face each other this week

Cyrus Mistry and Ratan Tata
First time since his ouster, former chairman of Tata Sons, Cyrus Mistry, is likely to come face to face with Ratan Tata, interim chairman of Tata Sons, at Bombay House later this week.

The two would meet at the Tata Sons board meeting in the same fourth floor boardroom where Mistry was replaced on October 24. This time, Tata would chair the meeting. According to a source close to developments, the board is likely to discuss the crisis triggered by the ouster of Mistry as Tata Sons’ Chairman. Mistry continues to be on the board of Tata Sons.

Tata Sons is taking steps to remove Mistry as director from the listed companies of the Tata group. The Mistry family holds 18.5 per cent stake in the company while the rest of the equity is held by Tata Trusts and Tata group companies. Mistry, as director of the company, can attend the board meeting and as per a deal with the Mistry family and Tata Sons, a member of the family will get one board seat in the company.

The new Tata Sons board would include first timers, N Chandrasekaran, CEO of TCS, and Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, who were inducted after Mistry was removed as Chairman and Tata was appointed as interim chairman.

When contacted, a Tata group spokesperson said he was not aware of any board meeting.

According to an insider, the contract of Mistry as Tata Sons’ Chairman was coming to end in March 2017 but Tata did not wait for six months and removed him without citing any reason. Soon after he was removed, Tata group insiders had cited “under-performance” of Mistry as the main reason for his removal. Later, in a letter to the employees, Tata had said removal of Mistry was absolutely necessary for the future success of the group.

Mistry, on the other hand, said there was too much of interference from the Trusts on investment decisions of the listed companies and the group was facing write downs worth $18 billion due to bad acquisitions made by Ratan Tata. 

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