Tata Group ousts chairman and appoints patriach

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Ratan Tata will take the helm at Tata Communications' parent company on an interim basis

Tata Sons has ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry, with his role set to be filled by the man he replaced, Ratan Tata, on a temporary basis.

Tata stepped down as chairman in late 2012, but will head up the group for four months while it seeks a replacement for Mistry.

Tata Sons is the largest shareholder in a number of Tata Group companies, including Tata Communications, which operates a global subsea and terrestrial network covering more than 700,000km. It has more than 400 Points of Presence on five continents and operates more than one million square foot of data centre space in 44 locations.

In a statement, the Tata Sons board said it was decided “it may be appropriate to consider a change for the long-term interest of Tata Sons and Tata group”. No reason was given for Mistry’s departure.

Mistry was the first chairman outside of the Tata family to be appointed as chairman in the last 70 years, and only the 6th chairman in the Indian conglomerates 150 year history.

Media reports in India claim there was some discontent within the company with Mistry’s actions, which include selling off a number of assets.

Mistry has also overseen a costly battle with NTT DoCoMo, resulting in a ruling from the international arbitration court earlier this year that Tata should pay the Japanese telco $1.17 billion for breach of contract. 

The dispute has its roots in an ill-fated deal agreed in 2009, after DoCoMo invested in Tata Teleservices. As part of the agreement, the Japanese operator exercised an option to request Tata to find a suitable buyer for its 26.5% stake, which DoCoMo claimed it failed to do.

Reports from India claim Mistry’s Shapoorji Pallonji family, which is one of the biggest shareholders in Tata Sons, could legally contest his departure, which came after “months” of discussions between the Tata board.