Salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Sons on Monday replaced Cyrus Mistry as chairman of the Tata Group and restored Ratan Tata to the position as an interim measure. The decision was taken in a board meeting held in Mumbai. The board did not give any reasons for Mistry’s surprise removal. Television channel ET Now quoting sources reported that the decision to remove Cyrus Mistry as Tata Group Chairman was not an unanimous one. The channel said that 6 board members voted in favour of Cyrus Mistry’s removal while 2 members abstained from voting. The board constituted a selection committee comprising Ratan Tata, TVS Group head Venu Srinivasan, Amit Chandra of Bain Capital, former diplomat Ronen Sen and Lord Kumar Bhattacharya. All of them, except Bhattacharya, are on the board of Tata Sons. The committee has been mandated to complete the selection process in next four months.
Mistry, who was chosen by a five-member panel in 2011 to succeed Ratan Tata, took over the reins of the conglomerate when the veteran industrialist retired on December 29, 2012, when he turned 75. He has been a director of the company since 2006. The only second non-Tata to take charge of the group after Nowroji Saklatvala in 1932, Mistry by virtue of his age came in with a lot of promise, specially of continuity when he became Chairman of Tata Sons — the promoter of the major operating Tata companies at the age of 44.
Tata Sons owns the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, as well as Tetley Tea. It is one of India’s oldest industrial houses and comprises over 100 companies, including Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Power and the IT giant, Tata Consultancy Services. Mistry, 48, is the youngest son of Pallonji Mistry, whose family is the largest individual shareholder in Tata Sons with an 18 percent stake.
He previously was managing director of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, which has interests in construction, real estate, infrastructure and textiles. Growth in Tata Sons, India’s largest business group, has slowed in recent years, with turnover falling to $103 billion last fiscal year from $108 billion the previous year.
(With inputs from Agencies)