Wadia skips Tata Steel EGM, says independence of directors at stake | business-news | Hindustan Times
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Wadia skips Tata Steel EGM, says independence of directors at stake

business Updated: Dec 22, 2016 11:12 IST
HT Correspondent
Nusli Wadia

Industrialist Nusli Wadia on Wednesday skipped the extraordinary general meeting called by Tata Sons to oust him from the Tata Steel board.(HT Archive)

Industrialist Nusli Wadia on Wednesday skipped the extraordinary general meeting called by Tata Sons to oust him from the Tata Steel board. He alleged the recent shareholder meetings of other Tata companies had been “inappropriately and shamefully stage managed.”

The EGM had been scheduled to remove Cyrus Mistry and Wadia as the director. However, Mistry stepped down from the boards of all listed firms on Monday.

In a letter to shareholders, Wadia, the chairman of the Wadia group, reiterated Tata Sons’ allegations against him were baseless. He further said the independence of independent directors was at stake.

“I felt it was my duty to point out the baseless and false allegations made in the explanatory statement by Tata Sons, supporting the resolution to seek my removal,” said Wadia.

“The issue is not about the removal of Nusli Wadia, but about the very independence of an independent director and his ability to perform fiduciary duties and responsibilities without fear or favour,” Wadia said in the letter read out at the EGM.

He reiterated his charges on Tata Steel’s acquisition of loss-making Corus, and that shareholders were unlikely to ever see any returns on the ₹75,000 crore capital employed by the company overseas. He said the capital could have used to expand the company’s steel business in India.

The recent statements made on Tata Steel Europe were also a “matter of concern” that needs to be addressed by all shareholders. Protecting 11,000 British jobs had become “unaffordable” and “detrimental” to the interests of shareholders.

After Tata Steel, similar EGMs of Tata Motors and Tata Chemicals will also be held to oust Wadia as the director from the boards.

On Monday, proxy advisory firm Stakeholder Empowerment Services advised shareholders to vote in favour of the resolution to remove Wadia.

While he had performed his duty as an independent director quite well, his continuation was not in the interest of larger shareholders.

Mistry, who was removed as the Tata Sons chairman on October 24, recently vowed to continue the fight on a legal platform. On Tuesday, an investment company of the Shapoorji Pallonji family, of which Mistry is a part, filed a suit in the National Company Law Tribunal, demanding that the entire board of Tata Sons be scrapped.