Cyrus Mistry, who was sacked as the chairman of Tata Sons Ltd almost two months ago, said on Monday he has decided to resign from all Tata companies but indicated he will pursue legal action against the group.
Mistry’s resignation comes ahead of the extraordinary general meetings this week of Tata Motors Ltd, Tata Steel Ltd, Indian Hotels Co Ltd and Tata Chemicals Ltd where shareholders were to decide on removing him from the respective boards. The shareholders of Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, the biggest listed group company, had removed Mistry last week.
“I think it is time to shift gears, up the momentum, and be more incisive in securing the best interests of the Tata Group… I have decided to shift this campaign to a larger platform and also one where the rule of law and equity is upheld,” Mistry said in his resignation letter.
Tata Sons had sacked Mistry on 24 October and named Ratan Tata, his predecessor, as the interim chairman. The holding company of the $100-billion conglomerate had been trying since then to remove Mistry from group firms.
Mistry had initially refused to step down from individual companies and also rallied support from some independent directors such as Nusli Wadia. His departure was followed by a bitter public battle between him and Tata Sons, and his resignation indicates the fight is likely to continue.
In a televised address following his resignation, Mistry said that Ratan Tata had “staged a coup” by ousting him and that the reasons for the move were still unclear to him. He added that he was taking his fight to the public and the court and that he was not ruling out legal action.
“Unknown to the outside world, I had confronted, and was grappling with serious governance problems and ethical issues for a considerable period of time. My efforts were aimed at reforming the system from within and may well be the real reason for my removal,” Mistry wrote in his letter released to the media.
Mistry was named as the chief of Tata Group in November 2011 and had taken over as chairman of Tata Sons in December 2012 after Ratan Tata retired when he turned 75 years old. Ratan Tata had headed the group since 1991 before paving the way for Mistry, whose family is the single-largest shareholder of Tata Sons with a stake of about 18.5%. Tata Sons is, however, nearly two-thirds owned by Ratan Tata-led Tata Trusts.
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