Tata Vs Mistry - New Battleline
THE WEEK|January 05, 2020
The Tata vs Mistry saga takes a new turn with the NCLAT reinstating Cyrus as Tata Sons chairman.
Nachiket Kelkar

In its 150 years of existence, Tata Group has had only seven chairmen. But that was not the only reason many people were shocked when Cyrus Mistry was removed from the chair on October 24, 2016. Mistry was handpicked by his predecessor, Ratan Tata, and propped up by the clout his father, Pallonji Mistry, carried in Bombay House, the Tata headquarters. The Mistrys own an 18.4 per cent stake in Tata Sons, the holding company of Tata Group.

Mistry waged a legal battle against his removal, which was widely seen as an attempt to prove a point rather than out of a desire to get back the chair. On December 18, 2019, he secured a major victory when the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal ruled that the actions taken against him were illegal and he should be reinstated as the chairman of Tata Sons. Tata was given four weeks to comply with the judgment, but was ordered that Mistry be reinstated as a director immediately.

It came as a surprise, but people close to Mistry said it was justice done. “For the Tata Sons board members (the NCLAT judgment is a) devastating commentary on their illegal, unethical and spineless behaviour,” Nirmalya Kumar, who was a member of the group executive council set up by Mistry and head of strategy at Tata Group, told THE WEEK. Soon after Mistry’s removal, the council was disbanded and Kumar was asked to leave.

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