Cyrus Mistry, breaking his silence on the Supreme Court backing the Tata Group’s decision to sack him as chairman of the over $100 billion salt-to-software group in 2016, said today “life is not always fair” but “I sleep with a clear conscience”.
Last week, the Supreme Court endorsed the removal of Cyrus Mistry and set aside a company law tribunal order that had reinstated him. “That failed business decisions and the removal of a person from Directorship can never be projected as acts oppressive or prejudicial to the interests of the minorities, is too well-settled. In fact it may be conceded today by Tata sons that one important decision that the Board took on 16.03.2012 certainly turned out to be a wrong decision of a life time,” said the judges.
Mr Mistry said he was disappointed by the order.
“As a minority shareholder of Tata Sons, I am personally disappointed by the outcome of the judgement with respect to our case. Although I will no longer be able to influence the direction of governance of the Tata group directly, I hope that the issues I have raised, will cause deeper reflection and influence individuals concerned to catalyse change. I sleep with a clear conscience,” Mr Mistry said in a statement.
“Life is not always fair, but we are still the lucky ones – I am lucky to have the unwavering support of my family, friends, colleagues – past & present. I am grateful to my legal team that has remained steadfast and committed beyond the call of duty, through this journey. This is another step in the evolution of life for me and my family. We will celebrate the good times and take the knocks on our chins.”
The statement was titled “Grateful for the opportunity – My conscience is clear.”
Mr Mistry said his aim at Tata was to ensure a “robust board driven system of decision-making and governance that is larger than any one individual”.
He said he still believed that if directors on various boards could discharge their fiduciary duties “without fear or favour” one would protect value for all stakeholders in Tata Sons and its various Group companies.
“To this end, my performance was reviewed by nearly 50 Independent directors across multiple Tata Boards that I served. Beyond the performance metric that speaks for itself and the documented appreciation for my initiatives, I am humbled by the continued support I have received from my former colleagues and other Board members. All the successes we achieved, was built on the efforts of a very talented team including my executive management team (The GEC), the managers and staff of Tata Sons as well as the management teams in the Tata operating companies supported by their respective Board Members.”
He said over the last four years, he had reflected on his actions and whether he could have handled the generational change in leadership better.
“In hindsight, while I may have had many imperfections, I have no doubt or erosion of conviction about the direction I chose, the integrity behind my actions and their consequences. Every member of society looks to institutions such as courts to validate and endorse the appropriateness of his or her actions and beliefs.”
After the verdict, Ratan Tata had called it validation after “relentless attacks” on his integrity. “It is not an issue of winning or losing. After relentless attacks on my integrity and the ethical conduct of the group, the judgment upholding Tata Sons is a validation or the values and ethics that have always been the guiding principles of the group. It reinforces the fairness and justice displayed by our judiciary,” Mr Tata had posted.