Cyrus Mistry-Tata Group battle: Here’s why Mistry was removed as Chairman


New Delhi: On Sunday, Cyrus Mistry, the former executive chairman of Tata Sons, died in an accident. Mistry, 54, was in a car with three other people when it crashed near Maharashtra’s Palghar district, which borders Mumbai.

Cyrus Mistry, son of the late Pallonji Mistry, was a member of the Shapoorji Pallonji family, which has been involved in business, primarily in construction, for more than a century. Mistry’s grandfather, Shapoorji Mistry, first invested in Tata Sons in the 1930s.

In 2012, he was appointed as Tata Group’s sixth chairman. Cyrus Mistry and Tata were thought to have friendly relations until the former was removed as chairman of Tata Sons in October 2016. Cyrus Mistry’s ouster followed after certain disagreements between him and the Tata Sons Board relating to the functioning of the company and decisions taken by Cyrus Mistry.

Cyrus Mistry and Tata Sons were embroiled in one of the most high-profile boardroom battles nearly five years after his dismissal.

After giving him the opportunity to resign voluntarily, the board of Tata Group’s holding company voted in October 2016 to remove Cyrus Mistry from the chairmanship. The terse announcement of Mistry’s dismissal immediately following the board meeting sent shockwaves through the business community.

Cyrus Mistry appealed his removal as chairman in October 2016 to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which ruled that the removal was illegal and that the company’s affairs were managed in a way that was harmful and oppressive to its minority shareholders.

The Tata Sons then appealed the NCLAT order to the Supreme Court. Following that, in 2021, the Supreme Court stayed an order by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal to reinstate Cyrus Mistry as chairman.

“It was always my duty and privilege as executive chairman of Tata Sons to present India to the global business community as a market of great opportunity and promise, backed by an effective rule of law that is just, equitable, and evolved,” Cyrus Mistry said in an emotional statement following the Supreme Court’s decision.

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