My conscience is clear: Cyrus Mistry on Supreme Court ruling on Tata tussle

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Updated: March 30, 2021 7:58 PM

In a statement Mistry, who served as chairman of the salt-to-software conglomerate from December 27, 2012, to October 24, 2016, when he was unceremoniously sacked in a board room coup, said his conscience was clear and he sleeps with a clear conscience.

Over the past four years, I've had the opportunity to reflect on my actions and on whether I could have handled the generational change in leadership better.

Ousted Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry on Tuesday expressed disappointment over the Supreme Court order in the fight against the conglomerate over his ouster, but asserted his conscience was clear and he had no doubt about the direction he took regarding the generational change in leadership during his tenure.

The apex court order on Friday had set aside National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order restoring Mistry as executive chairman of the conglomerate, while allowing appeals filed by the Tata Group.

“Every member of society looks to institutions such as courts to validate and endorse the appropriateness of his or her actions and beliefs. As a minority shareholder of Tata Sons, I am personally disappointed by the outcome of the judgement with respect to our case,” Mistry said in a statement.

He further said, “Although I will no longer be able to influence the direction of governance of the Tata group directly, I hope that the issues I have raised will cause deeper reflection and influence individuals concerned to catalyse change. I sleep with a clear conscience. ”

On Friday a bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian allowed appeals filed by Tata Group.

The court said, “All the questions of law are liable to be answered in favour of the appellants Tata Group and the appeals filed by the Tata Group are liable to be allowed and those by Shapoorji Pallonji Group are liable to be dismissed.

The apex court had on January 10 last year granted relief to the Tata group by staying NCLAT order by which Mistry was restored as the executive chairman of the conglomerate.

Reflecting on the Supreme Court order, Mistry said, “Life is not always fair, but we are still the lucky ones — I am lucky to have the unwavering support of my family, friends, colleagues – past and present. I am grateful to my legal team that has remained steadfast and committed beyond the call of duty, through this journey.

“This is another step in the evolution of life for me and my family. We will celebrate the good times and take the knocks on our chins.”

Mistry, who had raised several raised issues related to corporate governance and transparency, including alleged Rs 22 crore fraudulent transactions involving non-existent entities in India and Singapore in Tatas’ joint venture with Air Asia, besides accusing Ratan Tata of feeling insecure about his legacy, said he has reflected on his actions since his exit from the Tata Group.

“Over the last four years, I have had the opportunity to reflect on my actions and on whether I could have handled the generational change in leadership better. In hindsight, while I may have had many imperfections, I have no doubt or erosion of conviction about the direction I chose, the integrity behind my actions and their consequences,” he said.

Mistry said his aim at Tata Group, “an iconic institution undergoing a generational change in leadership, was to ensure a robust board-driven system of decision-making and governance that is larger than any one individual”.

A key focus was to enable the directors on various boards to discharge their fiduciary duties without fear or favour, while still ensuring that shareholders views were reflected in strategy and actions, he added.

“It continues to be my belief that it is by such a model, that one would protect value for all stakeholders in Tata Sons and its various group companies,” Mistry said.

To this end, he said, “My performance was reviewed by nearly 50 independent directors across multiple Tata boards that I served. Beyond the performance metric that speaks for itself and the documented appreciation for my initiatives, I am humbled by the continued support I have received from my former colleagues and other board members”.

During his tenure as Chairman of Tata Sons, Mistry said it was always his duty and privilege to present India to the global business community as a market of great opportunity and promise, backed by an effective rule of law that is just, equitable and evolved.

“At Tata Sons, I have had the opportunity to work with a fantastic team of people from diverse backgrounds in multiple industries and geographies all bound together by a common value system embedded by the founders into the Tata Group. For that opportunity, I shall be eternally grateful,” Mistry said.

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