In a letter addressed to the employees on 25 October, Ratan Tata stated that it was in the interest of stability and reassurance to India’s largest conglomerate that he was returning to the group as interim chairman.
At a meeting of CEOs, held a day later, one of the CEOs, articulating the question uppermost in the minds of most persons, asked what the immediate trigger was for this unprecedented step, of ousting Cyrus Misty as chairman. Ratan Tata laconically responded: “i am afraid i cannot answer this question. The answer will probably go with me to my grave.”
Corporate India has seen its fair share of boardroom skirmishes. The recent upheaval in the boardroom of Tata sons, the unlisted holding company of Tata group companies, has left everyone wondering why?
A fortnight after the unceremonious ouster of Misty, 48, on 24 October, the issue is still being heatedly discussed. Why was the chairman removed without an explanation? Could it have been handled better by offering Misty a graceful exit? Perhaps even by waiting for his term to expire in march 2017?.
What was the immediacy of the issue? Ratan Tata, 78, who is otherwise careful about the group’s image, would surely have been able to visualise the widespread reputational risks entailed to the group and equally to