Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group, chaired his last annual general meeting of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), saying he was looking forward to being able to sit on the other side of the dais.
Shareholders at the 17th AGM were emotional about being able to meet and hear him in his chief’s capacity for the final occasion, with many requesting him to take over as chairman emeritus, as Keshub Mahindra had done at Mahindra & Mahindra.
To which, Tata said: “I am looking forward to be able to sit among you and look at the dais.” The TCS AGM is among the first of the meetings of group companies that Tata would chair for the last time. He is to retire at the end of 2012, when he turns 75, making way for a much younger Cyrus Mistry, 43.
Shareholders wanted to know why Tata did not announce a special bonus issue as a parting gift. His reply: "You can remember me for being stingy!" Of the cash TCS generated between financial years 2005 and 2012, as much as 40 per cent has been distributed to the shareholders as dividend. For FY12, the company paid a special dividend of Rs 8 per share.
Tata also formally introduced Mistry, whose appointment as Director was passed at the AGM. For Mistry, this was his first AGM of any of the Tata Group firms as chairman-designate; he was taking notes through the meet.
"Ratan Tata has played a very important role, increasing the group companies’ performance over his tenure. This is especially true for Tata Motors. Compared to him, Cyrus Mistry is getting everything on a platter. He should aim to see that the growth momentum of the group companies is maintained," said Manoj Alimchandani, a shareholder and analyst.
Shareholder Asha Lata Maheshwari said: "We will miss Mr Tata and I hope he agrees to the role of chairman emeritus. He is one of my favourite chairmen. It is difficult to find a person like Tata, but Mistry is a capable person and as a shareholder, I am confident he will be good at the job. We will miss Ratan Tata during the AGM and also for his guidance to the company. But TCS is a technically sound organisation, with a stable management," said Ramgopal Cancherla, a shareholder since the company went public in 2004.
TCS reported revenue of Rs 48,894 crore, representing a growth of 31 per cent for FY12 and net profit of Rs 10,413 crore. The revenues represent 10 per cent of the total Indian IT services industry revenue.