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He’s not interested in coming back as Tata’s boss, says Cyrus Mistry


MUMBAI: Cyrus Mistry, who was reinstated as president of Tata Sons and director of TCS, Tata Teleservices and Tata Industries by the National Corporate Law Court (NCLAT), said on Sunday that he was not interested in returning to those positions. However, he said he would seek a seat on Tata Sons’ board to improve transparency in the holding company of the Tata Group.

“To dispel the disinformation campaign… I intend to make it clear that despite the order (December 18, 2019) of the NCLAT in my favor, I will not pursue the executive chairmanship of Tata Sons, nor the management of TCS, Tata Teleservices or Tata Industries,” he said in a statement.

He said he made the decision, as the “interests of the Tata Group are far more important than the interest of any individual.”

The Shapoorji Pallonji (SP) family share added that, however, it “will vigorously seek all options to protect their family’s rights as a minority shareholder, including the 30-year history of a board position in Tata Sons and the incorporation of the highest standards of corporate governance and transparency in the company”. The family, with an 18.4% stake in Tata Sons, has been a shareholder in the company since 1965 and was invited to its board of directors in 1980.

Ratan Tata, president emeritus of Tata Sons, among others, moved the Supreme Court last week challenging the NCLAT order, stating that restoring Mistry to its original positions to complete his expired terms would go against the interest of the create confusion in the running of companies.

Mistry’s statement puts an end to speculation about uncertainty about future leadership at Tata Sons. In addition to reinstating Mistry as chairman of Tata Sons, a position he held for nearly four years until October 24, 2016, when he was dismissed in a boardroom coup, NCLAT occupied the appointment of his successor N Chandrasekaran as illegal.

“This legal struggle has never been about me. It has always been and will always be about protecting the rights of minority shareholders and defending their right to demand a higher level of corporate governance from controlling shareholders,” read Mistry’s one-page statement.

“Over the past three years, both in conduct and in its statements to the world at large, the leadership of the Tata Group has shown little respect for the rights of minority shareholders. It is time for the Group’s management to introspecte and reflect on its conduct as it embarks on future actions,” he said.

The error said he felt humiliated by the NCLAT order, which after “reviewing the huge recorded material, acknowledged the illegal manner in which I was removed and the oppressive and harmful conduct of Ratan Tata and other trustees.”

The former president said that recent media reports attributed to Ratan Tata and others questioning the NCLAT ruling before a major Supreme Court hearing, “professes an interpretation of corporate democracy as one of the gross majority without rights for minority stakeholders.” “The question in these court proceedings is whether the oppressive actions of a majority that suffocates minority shareholders go beyond external judicial oversight and reproach.” Globally, including in India, corporate law has evolved to protect minority shareholder rights and strengthen corporate governance, Mistry said.

Ratan Tata and other appellants are likely to mention the matter before the Chief Justice in the Supreme Court on Monday and seek an early list of their appeals.

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