Business

Management Has Our “Full Confidence and Support”: Tata Motors Independent Directors

The statement put out after the meeting backed Cyrus Mistry but it did not go as far as previous statements put out by the independent directors of Indian Hotels or even Tata Chemicals.

The revolt of independent directors has caused a certain amount of public consternation for Tata Sons and Ratan Tata. Credit: Reuters

The revolt of independent directors has caused a certain amount of public consternation for Tata Sons and Ratan Tata. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The independent directors of Tata Motors, on Monday, did not explicitly endorse or criticise former Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry’s performance, instead stating that the all decisions relating to “strategy operations and business” of the car-maker were taken collectively by the board and executed correspondingly by the chairman (Mistry) and management.

“The independent directors have confirmed that all decisions taken by the board with regard to the strategy, operations and business of the company have been unanimous and executed by the Chairman and management accordingly,” a statement from the company’s independent directors, who met on Monday, said.

The statement, however, does point out that the management of the company – which currently includes Mistry, who is still chairman of Tata Motors – has the “full confidence and support of the independent directors”.

Mistry, who was unceremoniously sacked as chairman of Tata Sons in late October, still remains the chairman of the boards of several group firms  – a continuing arrangement that has sharply brought into focus the role of the independent directors of various Tata Group firms.

Last week, for instance, at the board meetings of two other Tata Group firms – Indian Hotels Co Ltd (IHCL) and Tata Chemicals – the independent directors of the firms came out in strong support of Mistry; a move that has caused a certain amount of public consternation for interim chairman Ratan Tata.

While the independent directors of IHCL put out a glowing statement in favour of Mistry, praising him for the steps taken to “provide strategic direction and leadership to the company”, their counterparts at Tata Chemicals  “unanimously affirmed their confidence in the board and its chairman.”

Vroom, vroom

The statement put out by the independent directors of Tata Motors, however, does not name Mistry specifically and appears to accept collective responsibility instead of pinpointing the role of any one individual.

“The independent directors have further affirmed that the company continues to be governed, supervised and managed under the guidance and direction of the board. The management of the company and its subsidiaries have the full confidence and support of the independent directors,” the statement says.

“Management” here includes Mistry, who still remains the chairman of Tata Motors.

The Tata Motors board has six independent directors: Nasser Munjee (who also sits on Tata Chemicals board), Nusli Wadia (who also sits on the boards of Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals), Subodh Bhargava, V.K. Jairath, R.A. Mashelkar and  Falguni Nayar.

The Tata Motors board meeting today comes just days after holding firm Tata Sons  moved a resolution to remove Mistry and independent director Nuslia Wadia as directors of Tata Chemicals, Tata Motors and Tata Steel.