Cyrus Mistry skips two key board meets of Tata group firms

Two more directors apart from Mistry -- Farida Khambatta (who is in the US) and JLR chief Ralf Speth -- did not attend the meeting along with Mistry.

By: PTI | Mumbai | Published:November 17, 2016 8:20 pm
Cyrus mistry, Tata SOns, Ratan tata, Tata Group, Cyrus Mistry tata Sons, Cyrus Mistry sacked, Ousted Tata chairman Cyrus Mistry. (File)

Ousted Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry on Thursday skipped two crucial board meetings of the group’s holding company and its crown jewel TCS as raging boardroom battle continues at the USD-103-billion group. Mistry did not attend a board meeting of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in the morning and was also not present at Tata Sons’ first board meeting since his removal on October 24. Emerging out of the board meeting of Tata Sons at Bombay House, director Vijay Singh called it a “routine” meeting which included taking assessment of the businesses and the way ahead in the next six months. Singh added that there is no plan as of now to call extraordinary general meeting of Tata Sons.

Two more directors apart from Mistry — Farida Khambatta (who is in the US) and JLR chief Ralf Speth — did not attend the meeting along with Mistry, Singh said. Sources close to Mistry said there was an informal meeting of directors called by interim chairman Ratan Tata in the morning which led to Mistry skipping the crucial board meet.

Singh denied any such meeting, jokingly saying that all board meets are themselves “informal”. When asked if there was any discussion on the composition of the board, he scoffed any possible rumours saying no more sackings are contemplated. All other directors, including Ajay Piramal, Ronen Sen and Venu Srinivasan, refused to comment. Newly inducted director and TCS chief N Chandrasekaran left in a car with Ratan Tata.

Earlier in the day, the board of country’s largest software exporter TCS held its meeting and decided to have an
EGM (extraordinary general meeting) of the shareholders on December 13 to consider removal of Mistry from the
directorship. The EGM at TCS, in which the holding company has 73.26 per cent stake, will in all possibility be the first in a string of similar meetings at group companies to consider the expulsion of directors.

Other group companies, including Tata Chemicals, Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) and Tata Global Beverages, have already decided to have similar meetings, and expulsion of Bombay Dyeing chairman Nusli Wadia features among the agendas. Even though he continues to be a director, Mistry did not attend the TCS meeting which was attended by other non executive independent directors, including former SBI chairman O P Bhatt.

This was also the first board meeting under the new chairman Ishaat Hussain. He was appointed as the chairman of
the company in a surprise move by Tata Sons using a provision in the company’s articles of association which allows the majority shareholder to nominate chairman of the board.