In a major escalation of boardroom brawl at the Tata Group, Cyrus Mistry was today voted out as chairman by the board of the Tata Global Beverages, the second listed firm of USD 103-billion Group to remove him. Seven out of 10 directors at the board meeting of Tata Global Beverages, the maker of Tata Tea and Coffee, voted for removal of Mistry as chairman of the company, TGBL said in a regulatory filing. Last week, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) said Mistry, who was abruptly sacked as the chairman of Tata group’s holding company, has been removed and replaced by Ishaat Hussain in the interim. Tata Global Beverages Ltd (TGBL) said Harish Bhat, a non-executive director of the company, has been appointed chairman of the company.
Bhat is believed to be a confidant of Ratan Tata, who was brought back from retirement as interim chairman of Tata Sons after Mistry was shown the door. Since taking over, the 78-year-old Tata has begun tightening his grip over the conglomerate. Even after his removal as chairman of Tata Sons, Mistry continues to head several listed companies ranging from Tata Motors to Tata Steel and Tata Power. Tata Sons has asked Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Tata
Chemicals and Indian Hotels Co Ltd (IHCL) to call extraordinary general meeting of shareholders to remove Mistry from the board. “The board of directors of the company considered the continuance of Cyrus P Mistry as chairman of the company at its board meeting held on November 15, 2016,” TGBL said in the regulatory filing.
“After extensive deliberations, and keeping in view the long-term interest and alignment of all stakeholders and
stability of the company, the board of directors resolved to replace Cyrus P Mistry as chairman of the Company, by a majority vote, with 7 out of the 10 Directors present at the board meeting, voting in favour of the resolution.”
The TGBL board has 10 members, excluding ousted chairman Mistry. It includes six independent directors — Darius
Pandole, V Leeladhar, Mallika Srinivasan, Analjit Singh, Ranjana Kumar and Ireena Vittal. The other four are Harish Bhat, who has been today appointed chairman of the company, Managing Director and CEO Ajoy K Misra, Non-executive Director S Santhanakrishnan and Executive Director L Krishnakumar.
Among independent directors, Pandole is a partner at private equity (PE) fund New Silk Route (NSR) while Leeladhar
is former CMD of Vijaya Bank and Union Bank of India. Mallika Srinivasan is the Chairman and CEO of Tractors and
Farm Equipment Limited. Analjit Singh is Chairman of Max India and Ranjana Kumar is former vigilance commissioner of the Central Vigilance Commission.
Ireena Vittal is former partner with McKinsey & Co. On November 5, seven independent directors of Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) had strongly backed Mistry. Tata Chemicals independent directors had also come out in support of Mistry. Last week, taking Mistry head on, Tata Sons sought his removal as well as that of the group’s friend-turned-foe Nusli N Wadia from the board of three prime listed Tata group companies — Tata Motors, Tata Chemicals and Tata Steel.
Tata Sons, which holds 26.51 per cent stake in Tata Motors, has asked the manufacturer of Jaguar Land Rover to
convene an extra-ordinary general meeting of the company to consider its resolution seeking removal of Mistry and Wadia. The latest moves are seen as attempts by Ratan Tata, who was brought in as interim head after sudden removal of Mistry, to seize back control of India’s largest conglomerate.