South Asia | Mistry camp digs in for showdowns at Tata subsidiaries
Cyrus Mistry (L) and Ratan Tata pictured in happier days before the former's sacking as chairman of the conglomerate. Photo: Reuters/Vivek Prakash
Cyrus Mistry (L) and Ratan Tata pictured in happier days before the former's sacking as chairman of the conglomerate. Photo: Reuters/Vivek Prakash

Mistry camp digs in for showdowns at Tata subsidiaries

Ousted chairman, boosted by support from group's hotels company, puts faith in independent directors

November 7, 2016 6:44 PM (UTC+8)

The ongoing turf war between Tata Trust, the majority owner of Tata Sons, and the ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry has entered a crucial phase with board meetings of group companies lined up in the coming days.

After ousting 48-year-old Mistry from the Tata Sons holding company, India’s largest conglomerate with over 100 operating firms, Tata Trust is looking to remove him from the operating companies as well.

According to financial daily The Hindu Business Line, after the Mistry camp tasted success at Friday’s board meeting of the conglomerate’s hospitality arm Indian Hotels Co Ltd (IHCL), plans to take legal action recourse have been put in the back-burner.  IHCL’s  independent directors unanimously backed Mistry’s leadership.

Now they are looking to garner support from boards of group companies where Mistry continues to be the chairman. The board of Tata Chemicals is scheduled to meet on November 10 to consider second quarter results and Tata Motors will do so on November 14.

According to the newspaper, Mistry’s strategy is to discredit the stand taken by the Tata camp, which questioned his performance and claimed his leadership had weakened the group. The Mistry camp is expecting more support in the coming days.

Key investors

Meanwhile, the former and now stand-in chairman Ratan Tata has reached out to key investors and written to employees twice following the ousting of Mistry. However, he has not make any such efforts toward independent directors on the boards of group firms.

Earlier in a Bombay Stock Exchange filing, IHCL had said: “The independent directors unanimously expressed their full confidence in chairman Cyrus Mistry and praised steps taken by him in providing strategic direction and leadership to the company.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May, currently on a two-day visit to India, has said she won’t meet any executives from Tata Steel Ltd during her trip, according to Reuters.

“I had hoped to be able to meet the key people from Tata while I was in India, sadly the schedules don’t allow for me to do that on this particular visit but there are regular contacts between the government and Tata Steel,” May told reporters.

However Mistry is due to take part in a CEO forum with May during her visit.

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