All change at top of Tata, the parent company of Jaguar Land Rover

Published: 25 October 2016

► Cyrus Mistry removed as Tata chairman
► Predecessor Ratan Tata, 78, takes over
► Indian media mull 'sacking' of Mistry

The board of Tata Sons, the holding company of Tata Group – which owns Jaguar Land Rover, Tetley Tea and steelmaker Tata Steel, among others – has unexpectedly removed its chairman, Cyrus Mistry.

The change at the top of India's largest conglomerate took the corporate world by surprise and Indian newspapers are full of speculation over the 'coup.'

Mistry had been only the sixth chairman in the group's 148-year history and was hand-picked in 2012 to replace Ratan Tata, a prominent member of the founding family. Now, his predecessor – who is 78 – is returning as interim chairman while the board seeks a new appointment by February 2017.

Why has Tata removed its chairman?

Local press reports are blaming 'contrasting styles in investment' and 'a fundamental disconnect between Mistry and Tata, particularly with regard to ethos, values, vision and the direction' of the group. 

They report on tensions between Mistry's new, more aggressive business practices and the old-school Tata way. The retreat from the traditional steelmaking business in Europe is cited as a case that caused ructions in the Mumbai boardroom. 'Tensions over ethics and strategy led to Mistry's ousting at Tata,' concluded the FT.

What does it mean to Jaguar Land Rover?

Very little, at this time. JLR remains one of the jewels in Tata's crown, with sales up 24% in the first nine months of 2016 to 434,025 vehicles.

Stand-in chairman Ratan Tata was personally involved in the purchase of Jaguar Land Rover and still takes a keen interest in Britain's biggest luxury car brands. It is not believed that strategy disagreements over JLR were responsible for Mistry's sudden departure.

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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