Life is not always fair, says Mistry after SC loss

MUMBAI: Four days after the Supreme Court dismissed all the appeals of Shapoorji Pallonji (SP) Group, scion Cyrus Mistry expressed disappointment over the judgment and said that “life is not always fair” and would take the “knocks on our chins”. Mistry also said that while in hindsight he may have had “many imperfections”, he has “no doubt or erosion of conviction about the direction I (he) chose, the integrity behind my (his) actions and their consequences”.
Last week, the SC had upheld Tata Sons’ decision to remove Mistry from the chairmanship of the company, ending a four-year legal battle between the two. Mistry, who was handpicked by Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, served as its chief from December 29, 2012 to October 24, 2016, when he was unceremoniously removed in a boardroom coup.
In a statement titled ‘Grateful for the opportunity — My conscience is clear’, Mistry said, “Every member of society looks to institutions such as courts to validate and endorse the appropriateness of his or her actions and beliefs. As a minority shareholder of Tata Sons, I am personally disappointed by the outcome of the judgment with respect to our case.” The SC had denied SP the right to have a representation on the board of Tata Sons in proportion to its minority stake of 18.4%, which it has been holding for decades.
“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,” he added. “I sleep with a clear conscience.” Mistry, however, did not state his next move on selling SP’s shares in Tata Sons.
The former chairman, who had raised several corporate governance issues at the Tata Group, said he has reflected on his actions since his ouster. “Over the last four years, I have had the opportunity to reflect on my actions and on whether I 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,” his statement issued on Friday said.
He also said that his effort right from the beginning at the Tata Group, “an iconic institution undergoing a generational change in leadership, was to ensure a robust board driven system of decision making and governance that is larger than any one individual”.
A key focus was to enable the directors on various boards to discharge their fiduciary duties without fear or favour, while still ensuring that shareholders’ views were reflected in strategy and actions, Mistry continued in the statement.
To this end, he said, “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.”
Reflecting on the SC judgement, Mistry said, “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 and present…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.”

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