All Eyes on Noel as Tata Sons Board Votes Today

Re­lated to both Tata & Mistry, he hasn’t taken a pub­lic stand on row

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit -

Kala Vi­jayragha­van & Megha Man­davia

Mum­bai: When the share­hold­ers of Tata Sons de­cide today on re­mov­ing for­mer chair­man Cyrus Mistry as a di­rec­tor, there will be a keen in­ter­est on see­ing how Noel Tata votes, at the EGM, given his con­nec­tions to the men on the op­pos­ing sides of the row that wracked Cor­po­rate In­dia — Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry.

Noel Tata is the step­brother of in­terim chair­man Ratan Tata and mar­ried to Mistry’s sis­ter.

The Mistry fam­ily is the sin­gle-largest share­holder of the hold­ing com­pany with an18.4% stake, but the Tata Trusts run by Ratan Tata has a two-thirds hold­ing, which makes Mistry’s re­moval a fore­gone con­clu­sion.

Tata Con­sul­tancy Ser­vices CEO N Chan­drasekaran will take over as chair­man of Tata Sons on Fe­bru­ary 21.

Se­nior ex­ec­u­tives close to Noel Tata said he may ab­stain. “He is un­likely to get into the con­flict zone by vot­ing for or against the res­o­lu­tion,” said one of them.

On Fri­day, the Na­tional Com­pany Law Ap­pel­late Tri­bunal (NCLAT) in New Delhi dis­missed ap­peals by Mistry fam­ily firms to stop Tata Sons from re­mov­ing the for­mer chair­man from its board at the share­holder meet­ing. Mistry ap­proached the ap­pel­late tri­bunal af­ter he failed to get the move stayed. He was re­moved as chair­man of Tata Sons on Oc­to­ber 24 af­ter the board said it had lost con­fi­dence in him.

Noel Tata, who was seen as among the con­tenders to suc­ceed him, did not re­ply to an email on the sub­ject. He hasn’t taken a pub­lic stand on the mat­ter and has al­ways kept a low pro­file. As chair­man of Trent and MD of Tata In­ter­na­tional, he is said to share a cor­dial equa­tion with both Tata and Mistry. Also, at both these com­pa­nies, he’s said to have had a rel­a­tively free hand at run­ning things.

His chil­dren work in the Tata Group. One is with In­dian Ho­tels Co, op­er­a­tor of the Taj Group of Ho­tels. Another works as an an­a­lyst at Tata Cap­i­tal, the flag­ship fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pany, and a third is with re­tail chain Trent, which Noel Tata helped build.

Sources close to Noel Tata say he may not get into the con­flict zone by vot­ing for or against the res­o­lu­tion

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