Independent directors on the board of various Tata Group companies might prove to be a tough nut to crack for Tata Sons that is trying hard to oust former group chairman Cyrus Mistry from the boards of these companies.
After Indian Hotels, it has come to the fore that six independent directors of Tata Motors, too, have extended indirect support to Mistry. In a statement issued to the stock exchange, these directors said: “The Independent Directors have confirmed that all decisions taken by the Board with regard to the strategy, operations and business of the company have been unanimous and executed by the Chairman and the management accordingly.”
Independent directors comprise more than half the company’s 11-member board. Without taking sides in the ongoing battle between Tata Sons and Mistry, the statement issued by the independent directors said: ““The independent directors have further affirmed that the company continues to be governed, supervised and managed under the guidance and direction of the board. The management of the company and its subsidiaries have the full confidence and support of the independent directors,” the statement added.
The statement, according to reports, was drafted by Nasser Munjee, a trustee on Tata Trusts, the largest shareholder in Tata Sons.
Even after he was ousted as the chairman from the board of Tata Sons, the group holding company, Mistry remains on the board of seven listed Tata companies that include TCS, Indian Hotels, Tata Motors, Tata Chemicals, Tata Global, Tata Power and Tata Steel.
Although Tata Motors is the third group company whose independent directors have refused to back the promoters, it hasn’t openly affirmed its support for Mistry unlike in the case of Tata Chemicals and Indian Hotels. The independent directors of these two companies publicly came out in Mistry’s support, thus, giving the boardroom battle an interesting turn.
The independent directors on the board of Tata Chemicals had, in their statement, said all the decisions with regards to operations and business of the company had been taken by the board “unanimously” and were “executed” by the chairman and the management as per the directions of the board.
Apart from Munjee, the other independent directors on the board of Tata Motors are R A Mashelkar, Nusli Wadia, Falguni Nayar, V K Jairath and Subodh Bhargava. Earlier, Tata Sons had questioned the role of independent directors who are backing Mistry. On Sunday, Mistry’s office issued a statement condemning the questions raised over the integrity of these directors.
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