During a brief interaction with HT, exactly 15 minutes to be precise, ousted Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry, 48, looked relieved. Having decided to step down from the boards of all listed companies of the Tata group, the former chairman can now partially end the fight that he fought for eight weeks with Tata Sons, contesting the group’s decision to remove him as chairman on October 24. The fight over the past eight weeks has seen charges and counter charges being traded, personal allegations levelled at one another, and even Tata Trusts, the charitable organisation of the group, also being dragged into the public forum. Excerpts from the interview.
Before you describe the fallout of your move, what is it that you have decided?
I have decided to step down from the boards of all listed companies of the group. This is mainly to ensure that we protect all shareholders and stakeholders. The history of the Shapoorji Pallonji family has been one of support to the Tata Group. In the last eight weeks, I have seen a significant cohesive behaviour from Tata Sons. As you have seen from the EGM (extraordinary general meeting) notice a very threatening attitude, which has let to tremendous unease. My belief is that from here the platform has to change. The output is still the same. What we are looking for is governance reform. I will continuously pursue very vigorously the values of our founder. What we have seen in the last eight weeks is a lack of governance.
What is the trigger for such a move?
There is no trigger as such. One has to reflect on making sure dialogues are there, so that the interests of all stakeholders and shareholders are protected. We felt that going ahead with EGMs would be destructive.
You have mentioned that you would now look at legal options. Can you elaborate on that?
I would not like to talk about my legal strategy. That is something that we would like to keep aside. What we are trying to do is to take steps that are in the best interests of all stakeholders.
Mr Tata has said that the actual reasons for removing you would go with him to the grave?
Have you seen anything that offers light on that? In the past eight weeks is there anything that says that? So you can understand.