Tata Sons has named Natarajan Chandrasekaran, the chief executive of its hugely profitable IT services unit, as its new chairman – an appointment aimed at restoring stability to the group after months of turmoil in its upper ranks.
The announcement follows the October dismissal of Cyrus Mistry, who has since launched a vocal campaign to expose what he claims are governance flaws at India’s largest conglomerate. Tata Sons denies his allegations.
Under the seven-year leadership of Mr Chandrasekaran, 53, Tata Consultancy Services has been established as by far the most profitable part of the Tata group, paying hefty dividends to Tata Sons that the holding company has used to shore up other businesses.
“He’s the person who’s effectively been carrying the chequebook for the group, so he’s the most obvious choice,” said Amit Tandon, co-founder of Institutional Investor Advisory Services, a proxy advisory firm.
“He’s respected within the group as well as by investors. He’s had a ringside view of how the group has grown, and therefore he’ll have a very good sense of the hot issues that need immediate fixing.”
Reacting to Cyrus Mistry’s charges of Ratan Tata being insecure about his legacy, Tata Sons on Monday said that the Trusts governed by individual wills of Jamsetji Tata and his two sons have been following the mandates set out in the wills. Mistry had alleged that Ratan Tata had sent out a signal that he had an absolute right to do as he willed without having to explain himself to anyone. In a statement, in response to Mistry’s charges, Tata Sons claimed that he had converted the Group into personal fiefdom with unilateral actions destroying a precious institutional memory of House of Tata.
Hitting out at Mistry further, Tat Sons said that his statements caused enormous damage to the group. “Cyrus Mistry gradually concentrated all power and authority in his own hands as Chairman of major Tata operating companies,” alleged Tata Sons. It also said that the company and its shareholders suffered a loss ‘tens of thousands of crores’.
In a representation to the shareholders of six Tata firms that have called extraordinary general meetings to discuss a resolution seeking his removal as director, Mistry alleged that Tata refused to reply as to why he was removed as Chairman of Tata Sons in October when asked at a meeting of CEOs of Tata Group companies.
Taking a dig at Tata’s style, Mistry had said, “Acknowledging that change is a constant in the dynamic business world and gearing up to adapt to change is what business leadership is made of.” He also accused Tata and former Vice-Chairman of Tata Sons N A Soonawala, as trustees of Tata Trusts, of “abusing” veto rights of Trustee-Nominated Directors to dictate to the directors on how Tata Sons should conduct itself.
The head of the National Stock Exchange of India has resigned weeks before the country’s largest exchange was due to file details about a public listing.
The group said on Friday that Chitra Ramkrishna had decided to step down. “Ms Ramkrishna had tendered her resignation due to personal reasons and expressed her desire to step down with immediate effect,” the NSE said in a statement.
Her decision comes as the NSE was due to announce to file with markets regulators about a stock market flotation. The NSE said in June that it would file a draft prospectus by January. Analysts have said a listing could value the NSE at around $6bn.
Some foreign investors who bought stakes in India’s leading exchanges over the past decade have been frustrated by delays to public listings, because they were unable to monetise their paper profits.
Most global equities trade on listed exchanges, but plans to float India’s bourses have repeatedly run into problems with the country’s markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
Ousted Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry on Tuesday leveled allegations at Ratan Tata blaming his ego for the Corus deal at a high price. He also said Tata’s contribution to the success of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Jaguar Land Rover is an ‘illusion’. In a series of statements issued by Cyrus Mistry’s office today, it said, “Ratan Tata had pitched for selling TCS to IBM, a ‘near death experience’ for group’s crown jewel. Ratan Tata’s ‘ego’ led to Corus deal at a high price.” He also alleged that Tata’s decision to acquire Corus for more than $12 billion went against reservations of some senior executives. “Ratan Tata’s decision to acquire steelmaker Corus for more than $12 billion, when a year earlier it was available at half the price, went against the reservations of some board members and senior executives,” added the statement.
Mistry also defended his involvement in growing the revenues and profits at two key group companies, Tata Consultancy Services and Tata Motors, that make up the bulk of Tata’s $100 billion revenues. “It is important to set the record straight since insinuations and leaks are being made explicitly to create an illusion that Mistry was a ‘hands off’ chairman and TCS/JLR were on ‘auto-pilot’ during his leadership,” Mistry’s office said in a five-page letter today.
Ratan Tata wanted to sell the company’s “crown jewel” Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to IBM. A statement from Cyrus Mistry’s office today dubbed the move by Ratan Tata as a “near-death experience for TCS”. The statement is the strongest attack so far from the Mistry camp against the Ratan Tata camp.
On Tuesday, Mistry’s office also alleged that Ratan Tata’s “ego” had led to Corus deal at a high price. A number of board members and senior executives of the group had reservations against Ratan Tata’s decision to buy the European steel company for over $12 billion. They had reservations against the decision as a year before the deal, the European company was available for sale at half the price, according to Mistry. The Corus deal, however, had put Tata steel on the global map.
Last month, Mistry was removed from the post of the chairman of Tata Sons, which is the holding firm of the $100 billion steel-to-software business empire. Mistry said that Ratan Tata’s decision to buy Corus at a higher price made it harder for the company to invest in acquired assets. It also placed jobs in the company at risk.
Mistry also defended his involvement in growing the revenues and profits of two group companies — Tata Consultancy Services and Tata Motors. These two companies make the bulk of Tata’s $100 billion revenues.
Earlier, a statement by Tata Sons on November 10 had insinuated that Cyrus Mistry made no “material contributions” to the success of TCS & JLR. The statement implied that the success of these two companies was because of “Ratan Tata’s personal vision and efforts”, Mistry’s office said in the statement.
It further said that it is important to set the record straight as “insinuations and leaks” are being made to create an illusion that Mistry was a “hands off” Chairman and TCS/JLR were on “auto-pilot” during his leadership.
British Prime Minister Theresa May won’t meet any executives from Tata Steel Ltd during her two-day trip to India but talks about the future of its British steel operations are still going on, she said.
In March, Tata Steel put its British steel operations on sale following heavy losses linked to a flood of cheap Chinese imports and low demand in the region. The process was suspended in July because of uncertainty following the June Brexit vote.
The company has since said it is exploring opportunities for a partnership for its entire European steel business, and Germany’s biggest steelmaker Thyssenkrupp has said it is in talks with Tata.
“I had hoped to be able to meet the key people from Tata while I was in India, sadly the schedules don’t allow for me to do that on this particular visit but there are regular contacts between the government and Tata Steel,” May told reporters on the plane to India on Sunday, her first bilateral visit outside the EU since she took office in July.
“There continue to be those regular contacts to ensure that we maintain, as has been maintained so far, that steel production in the UK.”
Tata’s former chairman Cyrus Mistry, who was ousted in a boardroom coup last month, is due to take part in a CEO forum with May during her visit.
The Enforcement Directorate will look into Tata Sons’ ousted chairman’s allegations related to the mismanagement of the group’s aviation ventures, India Today reported on Saturday citing a source.
Cyrus Mistry was removed as chairman of the 148-year-old Tata group this week in a move that stunned corporate India. Mistry has since accused his predecessor Ratan Tata of thwarting his attempts to restructure the $104 billion Indian conglomerate.
In a leaked letter to the Tata board, Mistry said he was opposed to Tata’s aviation partnerships with Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd and Singapore Airlines.
In the case of Air Asia, a forensic investigation had found “fraudulent transactions” of 220 million rupees ($3.29 million) involving “non-existent parties”, Mistry alleged in his letter.
That allegation had prepared the ground for an “examination” of the case, the India Today report said, citing an unnamed official at the Enforcement Directorate.
Officials at the agency were not immediately available to comment. Tata Sons said it was unaware of any such probe. An AirAsia India spokeswoman said she did not have an immediate comment.
An investigation by the agency, if confirmed, would come at a time when India’s capital markets regulator has already started looking into Mistry’s allegations related to violations of corporate governance rules at Tata.
Was Cyrus Mistry removed from the post of Tata group chairman because of his inability to display the leadership expected of him? If a report on ET Now is to be believed, then Cyrus Mistry was not “cut out for the job”. Sources in Tata Group have told the channel that Cyrus Mistry was sacked because he was unable to make the cut as a leader. “Mistry did not display the leadership expected from the Chairman of Tata Sons. He was decent and hardworking, but was not cut out for the job,” sources have told the channel.
It appears that Mistry was given the ‘opportunity’ to resign, but he chose not to. “There is no particular reason for the decision to remove Mistry, the accretion of things led to it. There is no gentle way of removing a Chairman, it had to be done,” sources said, adding that the Tata Sons Board felt that Mistry was not what the group needs as a leader. Now, Mistry is expected to resign from the post of Chairman of several group companies as well.
India’s Tata Sons has hit back at Cyrus Mistry, after its former chairman, who was sacked on Monday, launched a blistering attack on the record of his predecessor Ratan Tata in a leaked email.
The holding company of Tata Group put out a strongly-worded statement on Thursday accusing Mr Mistry of making “unsubstantiated claims and malicious allegations”. The most explosive of those was that five of the Tata Group’s biggest businesses faced asset writedowns worth $18bn.
Mr Mistry also accused Tata Sons directors of sacking him “without so much as a word of explanation” — an action he condemned for its “invalidity and illegality”.
The 700-word statement does not address the specific issues that Mr Mistry raised in his email but hints strongly at possible legal action.
It starts by expressing “regret” that a confidential communication had been made public:
It is a matter of deep regret that a communication marked confidential to Tata Sons board members has been made public in an unseemly and undignified manner. The correspondence makes unsubstantiated claims and malicious allegations, casting aspersions on the Tata group, the Tata Sons board and several Tata companies and some respected individuals. These will be responded to in an appropriate manner.
Group companies in the salt-to-software Tata Sonsconglomerate faces potential writedowns to the tune of close to $18 billion (about Rs 1,18,000 crore) due to investments in unprofitable businesses, according to an internal letter that ousted Chairman Cyrus Mistry sent to the company’s board.
Mistry was shunted out of the company on Monday by the Tata Sons board for reasons not officially made public by the group, however, sources told Reuters that Mistry had lost favor with family patriarch Ratan Tata and the powerful trusts, which own two-thirds of the group.
Mistry said in the letter that Indian Hotels Co, passenger-vehicle operations of Tata Motors Ltd, the loss-making European steel operations of Tata Steel, its telecom venture and the Mundra ultra mega power plant of Tata Power are “legacy hotspots” of the company.
“A realistic assessment of the fair value (of) these businesses could potentially result in a write down over time of about Rs118,000 crores ($18 billion),” said Mistry in an e-mail seen by Reuters.
A spokesman for Tata Sons declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Cyrus Mistry declined to comment.