Tata Chemicals Ltd. non-executive director Bhaskar Bhat resigned following disagreements with other board members, intensifying a leadership feud at India’s largest conglomerate.
At a recent board meeting, Bhat expressed his views on the threat faced by the Tata Group founding family’s “loss of confidence” in Tata Chemicals Chairman Cyrus Mistry, he wrote in his Nov. 10 resignation letter. A recent statement from Tata Chemicals independent directors, who expressed support for Mistry after he was ousted from the top job at Tata Group’s holding company, “completely dilutes” concerns that Bhat raised, he wrote.
“Several important issues of discomfort I expressed seem to have been totally ignored,” Bhat wrote in the letter, according to an exchange filing Friday.
In an exchange statement Thursday, Tata Chemicals independent directors voiced confidence in the leadership of Mistry, who remains chairman of the soda ash producer, and reaffirmed decisions taken by him.
Bhat is also managing director of Titan Co., a jewelry manufacturer backed by Tata Group. His resignation comes as Ratan Tata, who abruptly seized back control of India’s largest conglomerate last month, seeks to remove disgruntled successor Mistry also from group units and tightens his grip over the family’s $100 billion business empire.
Tata Group charged Thursday that Mistry was working with independent directors to take control of Indian Hotels Co., owner of the Pierre in New York, as well as other group companies. Mistry’s office declined to comment.
By George Smith Alexander and P R Sanjai