Independent directors on the board of Tata Group's Indian Hotels on Friday "unanimously expressed full confidence" in ousted chairman of Tata Sons, Cyrus Mistry. They praised Mistry for his "strategic direction and leadership", IANS reported.
Hours before the directors' board meeting, security personnel at Bombay House roughed up photojournalists standing outside and trying to take pictures of Mistry. One of them, a photographer from The Times of India, was injured in the scuffle, The Indian Express reported. The company has since issued an apology.
Mistry was removed from his post on October 24, though he is still on the boards of several companies in the group, including Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services, Indian Hotels, Tata Global Beverages Limited, Tata Chemicals, Tata Industries and Tata Teleservices. He is also still a director of Tata Sons, a post from where he can removed only by shareholders after due warning. His family's Shapoorji Pallonji Group owns around one-fifth of Tata Sons.
The company has revamped its management team after Mistry's ouster. Ratan Tata, who has been temporarily brought back to head the company, has put together a team of five executives to replace the management team. The new team includes two members of Mistry's advisory council. Mistry's team also had five members, of which three have left the company, Reuters reported.
With Mistry's dismissal, the business world is abuzz with rumours about this successor. Hindustan Times reported that the probable contenders for Mistry's post include Tata Consultancy Services CEO N Chandrasekaran, Jaguar, Land Rover chief Ralph Speth, Trent MD Noel Tata, Pepsico head Indra Nooyi and former Vodafone chief Arun Sarin. However, the company declined to comment on the speculation and said that its board had appointed a search panel to select its next chairman.
On October 26, two days after he was removed from his post, Mistry issued a letter in which he claimed that the conglomerate faced $18 billion (Rs 1.15 lakh crore) in write-downs or reductions in the value of assets. The letter said he had inherited “debt-laden” ventures of Indian Hotels Co, Tata Motors Ltd’s passenger-vehicle operations, Tata Steel Ltd’s European business, and part of the group’s power unit and its telecommunications subsidiary during his tenure as chairperson.