Tata Group has ousted its chairman in a sign of discord at the top of India’s largest conglomerate.
Cyrus Mistry, 48, was replaced by his 78-year-old predecessor at a board meeting on Monday, Bloomberg reports, citing a statement from the group’s holding company.
Ratan Tata, a scion of the founding family, will serve as the interim chief and take part in the search for a more permanent successor, according to the statement from Tata Sons Ltd.
The move signals the end of Mistry’s push to transform Tata Group into a more prudent enterprise than the globetrotter that bought Jaguar Land Rover and steelmaker Corus Group Plc under Ratan Tata.
In recent years, the US$100 billion conglomerate refinanced loans and sold assets to help tackle debt levels that had bloated to more than US$30 billion.
“This is just too bizarre that the chairman of the biggest industrial group in the country has been removed in such an arbitrary manner,” Gaurang Shah, vice president at Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services Ltd. in Mumbai, told Bloomberg by phone.
“The Tata Group owes an explanation as to why such a sudden decision has been taken.”
Of the nine Tata Sons board members, six voted to oust Mistry, two abstained, while Mistry opposed the decision, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not be identified because the information was private.
Tata Sons also plans to disband Mistry’s advisory council, the people said.
A spokeswoman for Tata Sons declined to comment beyond the company’s two-paragraph statement.
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