Independent directors of Indian Hotels on Friday unanimously expressed full confidence in former chairman Cyrus Mistry. In a statement today, Indian Hotels said, “The independent directors praised steps taken by Mistry in providing strategic direction and leadership to the company.” The independent directors, including banker Deepak
Parekh and Nadir Godrej, met ahead of the Tata group’s loss-making company’s board meeting and reposed faith in
Mistry, who has been ousted as chairman of holding company Tata Sons. Ratan Tata-led interim management of Tata Sons is seeking to oust Mistry from his positions in the operating group firms, including IHCL and Tata Motors.
The development comes hours after Tata Sons put in place a new management team for the $100 billion steel-to-software group, days after its board ousted Chairman Cyrus Mistry and disbanded his advisory council, triggering a public spat between him and Ratan Tata.
Explaining the reasons for making public their views, IHCL said: “After deliberations, the independent directors
came to a view that being a listed company, it was imperative for the independent directors to state their views to the
investors and public at large, such that those who trade in securities of the company make an informed decision.”
Ratan Tata, who is the interim chairman for the next four months, has put together a team of five executives, including two former Mistry advisers, Tata Sons said in a statement on Friday. The team comprises S. Padmanabhan, who currently leads the Tata business excellence group and will also be group human resources head, Gopichand Katragadda, who will continue in his current role as group chief technology officer, and Sanjay Singh, who will oversee public affairs in Delhi.
The new team also includes Mukund Rajan and Harish Bhat, formerly part of Mistry’s five-member advisory council. Rajan will continue to be responsible for ethics and sustainability, and will also oversee the group’s international operations in the United States, Singapore, Dubai and China.
Bhat, who oversees marketing, will also be brand custodian and interim strategy and business development head.
The remaining three Mistry advisers – Nirmalya Kumar, NS Rajan and Madhu Kannan – have left the company, Tata Sons said.
Tata veteran Prasad Menon, who last served as chairman of Vistara, an airline venture with Singapore Airlines, has also been brought in to help Ratan Tata temporarily, a source close to the company had told Reuters.
While Mistry has been removed as chairman of Tata Sons, he is still chairman of some of the key listed group companies such as Indian Hotels Co, Tata Motors, Tata Communications and Tata Steel.
(with inputs from Reuters)