Cyrus Mistry hunkers down for a long battle

Raghuvir Srinivasan Mumbai November 8 | Updated on January 27, 2018 Published on November 08, 2016

Cyrus Mistry

Mistry camp hoping for ‘conscience vote’ from independent directors

A hurt Cyrus Mistry is unwilling to walk off without a fight and is hunkering down for a drawn-out battle for leadership of the operating companies of the Tata group.

That’s the sense gleaned from a person close to him who preferred not to be named.

Mistry’s fight is not to get back at the helm of the Tata group, said the source. His objective now is to ensure that the institution of Tatas should stay in the right hands and be provided with the right governance. The Shapoorji Pallonji Mistry family has been shareholders in Tata Sons for over 80 years and Cyrus Mistry is keen that leadership of the group should not pass into the wrong hands.

The Mistry camp is banking on a “conscience vote” from the independent directors of companies such as Tata Chemicals, Tata Steel and Tata Motors, whose board meetings are coming up this week. “They’ve all seen him work at close quarters over the last 3-4 years and it is a conscience decision that each of them has to take,” said the source. But if it comes down to a vote in a general meeting, Mistry is preparing to set forth his side of the story fully and seek a vote of confidence from shareholders.

Pointing out that Mistry felt hurt by the course of events, the source underlined that this was not a personal battle with Tata — whom he still holds in high regard. Tracing the course of events on October 24, the source said that Ratan Tata and Nitin Nohria, director, walked into Mistry’s room exactly one minute before the 2.30 pm board meeting and told him that relations between him and the Trusts were not proper and they have taken a decision to replace him, for which a resolution would be tabled at the board meeting.

He was asked to “resign gracefully,” but Mistry told them that they could do what they had to and he would do what he had to.

Asked about talk of the Pallonji group selling its stake of a little over 18 per cent in Tata Sons, the source said that was not an option now, adding that such a decision is much larger than Mistry. It is a decision to be taken by the family and that is not on the table now.

Published on November 08, 2016
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