Jeh Wadia steps down from more Wadia companies
Jehangir Wadia, the youngest son of Wadia Group Patriarch Nusli Wadia, has stepped down from the boards of Britannia Industries Ltd and Bombay Burmah Trading Corp.
In March, he resigned as managing director of the family airline Go First (then Go Airlines) and Bombay Dyeing and Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
The departure of the 48-year-old entrepreneur, once believed to be Nusli Wadia’s successor of all of the group’s major listed companies, is unexplained. Jeh Wadia, as well as a spokesperson for Wadia Group and Nusli Wadia, did not respond to Mint’s questions.
In its latest annual report released last week, Britannia said Jeh had not offered to renew his term on the board.
“Mr. Jehangir N. Wadia, non-executive director, who retires on a rotational basis at the ensuing AGM (annual general meeting), in accordance with article 152 of the Companies Act 2013, does not is not proposed for a reappointment. The Board of Directors at its meeting held on July 30, 2021 decided not to fill the resulting vacant position, and the same is submitted to the members at the time of the Next AGM for approval, ”says the annual report.
Bombay Burmah’s latest annual report carries an identical notice, and the resolution will be presented to its shareholders at its annual meeting.
Bombay Burmah was the company Jeh joined when he joined the family business in July 2001. He was inducted into the Britannia Board of Directors in September 2005. National Peroxide is the fourth listed company in the Wadia Group, but Jeh was also not on the board of directors of the specialty chemical company.
Although neither Wadia nor the group have commented on the development, two people familiar with the developments said the departure was related to differences with father, Nusli Wadia.
Signs of strain in family ties emerged in May, when Go First, in its draft stock sale documents ahead of an initial public offering, said it was exploring legal action against Jeh Wadia. , who was the company’s chief executive until March, for the ownership of The Go Air brand and other similar assets. Jeh Wadia owns the Go Air brand through a private company, and the company’s IPO prospectus says he claimed ownership of the brand and associated brands.
When Jeh Wadia left Go Air and Bombay Dyeing in March, the group said it was part of an initiative to hand over control to professional executives.
A statement from the airline said: “Among other initiatives, a key element of this plan, forged over weeks of discussions and consultations, was to strengthen the management of the company by hiring proven professionals from the field. industry, a strategy that has worked well. for the group in its other businesses including Britannia. As a result, Jeh Wadia, who is part of the promoter’s family, has resigned from his position as managing director while remaining a promoter, “he said. he declared.
Bombay Dyeing made an identical statement in a regulatory filing. “In line with the goal of professionalizing management, Jeh Wadia, Managing Director of Bombay Dyeing and Manufacturing Co. Ltd, has resigned and will not renew his contract … which expired on March 31, 2021.”
However, older brother Ness, 50, continues to be the Managing Director of Bombay Burmah and Chairman of National Peroxide. Ness is also a board member for Bombay Dyeing, Britannia and Go First. Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) suspended the airline’s IPO project in June without giving reasons.
The Wadia Group is one of India’s most successful conglomerates, with a presence in consumer packaged goods, textiles, chemicals and food processing. Britannia and Bombay Dyeing are over a century old. Bombay Burmah is 158 years old.
The smell of differences within the company comes about half a century after Nusli Wadia confronted his father, Neville Wadia, over his decision to sell Bombay Dyeing to RP Goenka. In 1971, Nusli foiled the deal by enlisting support from the rest of the family, employees, and JRD Tata. If Jeh Wadia’s departure from the boards is indeed linked to disputes with his father, history would repeat itself in the conglomerate whose origins date back to 1736.
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