Mumbai: Nirmalya Kumar, former member of the group executive council (GEC) at Tata Sons Ltd in his latest blog titled, How Cyrus Mistry was fired, recalls the sequence of events a year ago that culminated in the removal of Mistry.
Kumar, who is currently a professor of marketing at Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University and Distinguished Fellow at INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute, gives a detailed account of the board meeting which took place on 24 October 2016 afternoon on the fourth floor of Bombay House, the headquarter of the $103 billion Tata group.
While six of the eight-member board that included Vijay Singh, Amit Chandra and Nitin Nohria—all trust nominees; Ajay Piramal, Ronen Sen and Venu Srinivasan—all independent directors, voted in favour of the resolution that sought removal of Mistry, Farida Khambhata, an independent director, and Ishaat Hussain, finance director, Tata Sons abstained from voting.
“It was all over in minutes, no explanations and no opportunity for Cyrus Mistry to prepare a rebuttal," says Kumar in his blog. At 3pm Mistry returned to his room and begun “packing his personal effects." He was informed by F.N. Subehdar chief operating officer, Tata Sons that it was “unnecessary for Mistry to return the next day" when the latter queried him about the same.
Oblivious of the events at Bombay House, Kumar along with a couple of GEC members N.S. Rajan and Harish Bhat were on a panel at an event at Taj President where they were to field questions from 100 young Tata executives on the group’s big data initiative. Shocked about Mistry’s sudden removal, the three GEC members left for Kumar’s apartment. They turned on the television and were shocked to see all channels plastered with news of removal of Mistry and the three GEC members.
A Tata Sons spokesperson declined to comment.