Nusli skips Tata Steel EGM, result awaited

Industrialist Nusli Wadia, who is an independent director of Tata Steel, stayed away from the extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Wednesday at which shareholders voted on the promoters' resolution for his removal from the metal giant's board.
Though the result of the voting is not yet out, the mood at the EGM suggested that Wadia lacked majority support. However, even if the shareholders do vote Wadia out, his post on the board will remain vacant due to a recent Bombay high court ruling. In the run-up to the EGM, a few shareholders had moved court to stop the promoters from voting on the resolution to remove an independent director on the grounds that he or she represents minority shareholders.
Just before the EGM, Wadia had issued a statement to Tata Steel shareholders saying he was abstaining from the EGM because he believed some of the recent shareholder meetings of Tata Group companies were "inappropriately and shamefully stage-managed by the requisitionist controlling the entry into the hall as also in the selection and choice of speakers".
Wadia said that independent directors were the custodians of the minority shareholders. "If they can be removed at the whim and fancy of a promoter, then their role will be reduced to that of 'yes men'...They will be left with the option to either toe the line, resign or face removal as I do."
In the run-up to the EGM, Wadia had said that he had differed strongly with the board on Tata Steel's acquisition of Corus. Also he had suggested stopping the funding of such money-guzzling propositions. At the EGM, Ishaat Hussain, a non-executive director on the board, said that the decision for Tata Steel to buy Corus was unanimous among its directors.

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