All Eyes on Noel as Tata Sons Board Votes Today
Related to both Tata & Mistry, he hasn’t taken a public stand on row
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