Big boost for Cyrus Mistry: Indian Hotels backs his chairmanship as Tatas seek legal measures to oust him from group board

Cyrus Mistry received a major boost, with the board of directors of Indian Hotels Co Ltd unanimously supporting his leadership and continuance as chairman of the company.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 05, 2016, 00:29 AM IST
Big boost for Cyrus Mistry: Indian Hotels backs his chairmanship as Tatas seek legal measures to oust him from group board

Mumbai: Ousted Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry Friday received a major boost, with the board of directors of the group's hospitality arm Indian Hotels Co Ltd unanimously supporting his leadership and continuance as chairman of the company.

While the independent directors of Indian Hotels Co Ltd (IHCL) endorsed Mistry's leadership and expressed their 'unanimous' full confidence in him at a meeting just before the board of the company that runs Taj Group of Hotels met, sources said other members of the board supported him later.

"There was unanimous support by the board members to Mistry and his continuance as chairman of the company," a source in the know said.

Just as independent directors of the firm, including banker Deepak Parekh and Nadir Godrej, met ahead of a scheduled board meeting, Tata security personnel roughed up journalists and lensmen gathered outside Bombay House to report the meetings.

After ousting Mistry from Tata Sons - the holding company of 100-odd firms with India's largest conglomerate, the promoter Tata Trust is looking at removing him from the operating companies as well.

The vote of confidence by the board of IHCL is a boost to Mistry. The board of Tata Chemicals is scheduled to meet on November 10 to consider second quarter results and Tata Motors will do so on November 14.

In a BSE filing, IHCL said: "The independent directors unanimously expressed their full confidence in Chairman Cyrus Mistry and praised steps taken by him in providing strategic direction and leadership to the company."

The other independent directors of IHCL include Gautam Banerjee (of Blackstone Group), Keki Dadiseth (ex-HUL MD), Vibha Rishi Paul (former executive director, brand and human capital, Max India) and Ireena Vittal (former partner with McKinsey & Co).

Besides Mistry, his sibling Shapoor Mistry is a director on the board of IHCL, as also his confidant and CEO Rakesh K Sarna.

Ratan Tata-led interim management of Tata Sons is seeking to oust Mistry from his positions in the operating group firms, including IHCL and Tata Motors.

As on September 30, 2016, the promoter group controls 38.65 per centstake in IHCL, out of which Tata Sons has 28.01 percent. 

The board of IHCL met after the meeting of the independent directors and approved the financial results for the second quarter ended September.

The meeting was chaired by Mistry and it is not clear if the promoter group brought any supplementary agenda to remove Mistry.

Explaining the reasons for making public their views, IHCL said: "After deliberations, the independent directors came to a view that being a listed company, it was imperative for the independent directors to state their views to the investors and public at large such that those who trade in securities of the company make an informed decision."