“I am being sacked”, said a text message by the ousted Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry to his wife on October 24, 2016 – the day when Mistry was removed from the conglomerate, according to former Tata Sons Senior Executive Nirmalya Kumar.
Kumar had also been removed from the company on the same day as Mistry. In a blog published on Saturday, Kumar said Mistry’s removal from the company could have been handled in a better manner.
Kumar wrote that in a meeting on the fateful day, Ratan Tata and Tata Sons board member Nitin Nohria informed Mistry about the impending board resolution. “He [Mistry] is offered the option of resigning or facing the resolution for his removal at the upcoming board meeting,” Kumar wrote. “Ratan Tata chimes in at this stage to say he is sorry that things have reached this stage.”
Mistry told Ratan Tata and Nohria that they are free to take it up at the board meeting, following which he sent the text message to his wife Rohiqa.
At the board meeting that followed the discussion, Tata Trust nominee Amit Chandra apprised the board that the Trust Directors had agreed to move a motion to request Mistry to step down because they had lost confidence in him for various reasons, Kumar said in the blog. “No rationale for the decision beyond this declaration was shared...It was all over in minutes, no explanations and no opportunity for Cyrus Mistry to prepare a rebuttal,” he added.
Kumar said Mistry’s contract was due to expire on March 31, 2017. The board could have just let the clock run out in five months, instead of the dismissal, he said.
“By eschewing the public humiliation of Cyrus Mistry, the bloody aftermath that followed could have been avoided.... The only winners as far as one could see were the public relations companies and lawyers, who are still having a field day,” he said.
Kumar is now a marketing professor with Singapore Management University.