BUSINESS

Cyrus Mistry Says His Fight Against Tata Sons Isn't About Position, But For Good Governance

Tata Sons has called Mistry's allegations "baseless, unsubstantiated and malicious."

20/12/2016 11:05 AM IST | Updated 20/12/2016 11:30 AM IST
Reuters Photographer / Reuters

Following his resignation from all Tata Group companies late on Monday, former Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry has said his battle against Tatas isn't about position, but for good governance at the $100-billion conglomerate.

Mistry told the Hindu BusinessLine, that his actions and efforts are aligned with shareholders' interests with an aim to put the best governance structures in place at the Group.

"On the day when I was removed it was all about how do I put a governance structure in place and how do I put a governance structure that is vibrant to create positive result for the companies," he said. "...If you look at the Group's operating companies, we have Group governance guidelines. Effectively, I was evaluated by 50 independent directors a year. I like to ensure that this process is put in place in (Tata) Sons and the (Tata) Trust itself. My aim is to ensure that the right of all the shareholders is protected."

He also vowed to continue that fight, saying he plans to pursue a "legal" forum among other platforms to address these issues.

ALSO READ: Cyrus Mistry Resigns From All Tata Group Companies. Here's The Full Text To His Statement.

In an interview with the Mint, Mistry alleged that Tata Sons's "coercive behaviour," and lack of governance had created huge amounts of uncertainty for shareholders, which prompted him to step down.

"What I have seen in the last eight weeks is a significant coercive behaviour from Tata Sons with employees and other stakeholders, and as you see in their EGM notice, a threatening attitude, creating a situation of tremendous unease."

Mistry has for weeks waged a war of words against Tata Sons and Tata family patriarch Ratan Tata, who is back at the helm of the conglomerate on an interim basis.

Mistry has alleged that Tata and his long-time aide Noshir Soonawala, both trustees of Tata Trusts which owns a majority stake in Tata Sons, undermined group company boards by demanding a say in key internal matters years after they had retired. Tata Trusts is a group of public charities.

Tata Sons has rejected the allegations, and on Monday it reiterated its stance, calling Mistry's allegations "baseless, unsubstantiated and malicious."

Mistry's surprise resignation comes just ahead of a series of special shareholder meetings called by Tata Sons to oust him from the boards of five Tata companies, Indian Hotels (IHTL.NS), Tata Steel (TISC.NS), Tata Motors (TAMO.NS), Tata Chemicals Ltd (TTCH.NS) and Tata Power (TTPW.NS).

Tata Sons owns substantial stakes of over 30 percent in all of the five Tata companies that had upcoming meetings, and Tata Sons' moves to oust Mistry were widely expected to succeed.

Mistry, who continues to be a director on the board of Tata Sons where his family owns a more than 18 percent stake, vowed to keep fighting his campaign.

"It is time to shift gears, up the momentum, and be more incisive in securing the best interests of the Tata Group," he said in his letter on Monday, the latest of several exchanged between the two camps over the last two months.

With Reuters inputs

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