Battle for AIL boardroom: Will wait for some more time, says Valli Arunachalam

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Published: January 17, 2020 3:13:04 AM

Arunachalam believes that since the majority stake of 91% is held by family members, a shareholders’ meeting could have been called immediately post November board meeting and an approval given for her induction into the board.

Murugappa Group, ailValli Arunachalam, daughter of late MV Murugappan and a shareholder of AIL, the holding company of the Murugappa Group

Valli Arunachalam, eldest daughter of late MV Murugappan and a shareholder of Ambadi Investments Limited (AIL), the holding company of the Rs 35,000-crore Murugappa Group, on Thursday said she would wait for ‘some more time’ before taking legal recourse or exploring a stake sale to outsiders.

Arunachalam said: “We have options like legal recourse and selling our (my) stake to an outsider or investors. They are only options at this point of time. It was my father’s wish that I should sell the stake to the group. Hence, I am waiting. I have faith that the current chairman will definitely come out with a solution in the near future.”

“If one were to go by the recent internal communication sent by the current executive chairman, MM Murugappan, to the group subordinates, I strongly believe that they will work out something to find an early resolution on this long-pending dispute,” she said.

In a January 4 communication, MM Murugappan is understood to have reassured his colleagues saying the family and the board of AIL will handle the matter in line with standards of good governance.

Arunachalam, who holds 8.15% in the holding company, is understood to have taken a legal opinion and is keen on a board seat.

She told FE: “Though the dispute with the group has been on for more than two years, I still I have faith in the current management and hope the issue will be amicably settled in short period of time.”

She added that given her substantial shareholding in AIL it would only be fair she be given an opportunity to serve the board.

“I am capable and can handle any challenges. I can serve true to the group’s principles, trust, transparency and good governance. We are fighting for justice and equality for woman,” Arunachalam said.

“I was informed by the board members that my request was considered at AIL’s board meeting held in November 2019. But till date there has been no action on what they informed me. Why the delay? Known for trust, transparency and good governance, I was surprised over the very delay to induct me into the board,” Arunachalam said.

Arunachalam believes that since the majority stake of 91% is held by family members, a shareholders’ meeting could have been called immediately post November board meeting and an approval given for her induction into the board.

She further said that the Articles of Association do not discriminate against any gender. “My father was a board member of AIL from 1969 till 2016. Post his death, I should have been offered that post given our family holding in AIL. Why the discrimination. I see no reason why myself, my sister are not being given an opportunity to serve the board. We are highly educated and have decades of work experience with multinationals.”

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