Valli Arunachalam may be inducted in Murugappa Group’s board today

By: |
September 21, 2020 3:40 AM

The development will signal the larger Murugappa family's inclination to amicably settle the stake that her branch of the family has in the business.

Post Murugappan’s death in 2017, Arunachalam, her sister and their mother hold an 8.15% stake in AIL.

Shareholders of Ambadi Investments, the holding firm of the Murugappa Group, will on Monday vote on a proposal to appoint Valli Arunachalam to the board of the company.

If the resolution is passed, Arunachalam, 59, and a nuclear engineer, will be the first woman director in the century-old group. The development will signal the larger Murugappa family’s inclination to amicably settle the stake that her branch of the family has in the business.

Arunachalam, the eldest daughter of former executive chairman MV Murugappa, publicly stated in January she was denied a board position in AIL despite being her father’s heir. Murugappa passed away in 2017. Arunachalam, her sister and their mother hold an 8.15% stake in Ambadi Investments.

In an e-mail interaction with FE last week, Arunachalam had said that given a board representation, she would exercise her duties with due and reasonable care, skill and diligence. This includes promoting the objects of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole, and in the best interests of the company, its employees, the shareholders, the community and also the environment.

“As a senior technocrat, with tremendous experience in business, I propose to leverage all of that experience and contribute to the growth of the Group’s business. Also, my appointment will bring much-needed diversity to the board. I do intend to open up the holding company boardroom to new ideas, richer debates, and different perspectives,” she had said.

Under the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, women can become the karta or head of the family and daughters can become co-parceners and inherit as much as sons. Arunachalam is the karta of the MVM Hindu undivided family, which holds the stake in Ambadi Investments.

Industry watchers say the family tussle appears to be nearing a truce and chances are high that Arunachalam will be inducted on to the board. They refer to an internal mail sent by the Murugappa Group chairman to senior functionaries in January immediately after she went public, that the Group will try to amicably settle the issue.

As per the AGM notice, Arunachalam who has a PhD in nuclear engineering from Texas A&M University and an M Phil in Physics from University of Madras, has 24 years of work experience. As senior innovation and technology consultant, she has been spearheading building of technology maps, setting strategy and vision to drive innovations in product & process design and development.

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