Ratan Tata wants to be part of the fraternity of small shareholders at AGMs once
he steps down as chairman of the Tata Group.
Speaking to shareholders at the Tata Consultancy Services AGM on Friday, the first of his last round of such meetings before he hands over the baton to Cyrus Pallonji Mistry early next year, Tata said: “One of my greatest hopes is to sit there and look up at the dais. Please don’t deny me that pleasure.”
Tata, who owns 1.5 million shares in TCS, was besieged by requests to carry on at the helm of affairs as chairman emeritus.
India's tallest industrialist, and not just literally, took the appreciation in his stride, his equanimity intact despite the barrage of questions.
The ever unassuming Tata leaves behind a an enviable legacy for the young Mistry, who will inherit an $80-billion empire. Shareholders appear to have faith in Mistry. Said Janak Mathuradas, a TCS shareholder since its public offer in 2004, “There could be a change of policy when a new chairman takes over, but he will have to meet shareholders' expectations.”
TCS rewarded shareholders with a double dividend this year – Rs 8 dividend a share plus an additional 8% as special dividend. The TCS board approved a special compensation of Rs 5 crore as a parting gift for Tata in addition to a Rs 3 crore commission due to him.
“The special dividend has nothing to with my farewell or Cyrus' entry,” Tata said, pointing out that TCS had done well and so it was distributing the profit. Shareholders clamouring for a bonus issue were met with a humourous, “You can remember me for being stingy.”
TCS is currently valued at Rs 2,50,042 crore with the stock ending Friday at Rs 1,277.55 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.