But Mody was made of sterner stuff and publicly termed it a "black resolution framed with Machiavellian intent to get him out, since he turned 75 in January 1993".
He had also openly defied Tata by issuing a circular promoting two of his six executive directors, Aditya Kashyap and Ishaat Husein, as joint managing director and deputy managing director, respectively. The promotees were the youngest of the six Tisco executive directors.
Though Mody cancelled the order a year later in the face of strong opposition from JRD and to buy peace with Ratan so that he could stay on, it was too late in the day.
Three months after his due retirement date, Mody exited the group.
His first mission accomplished, Ratan's next task was to make sure that the group didn't go back to a sum of individual fiefdoms.
He then focused on brand Tata - a group logo that belonged to Tata Sons. All group companies were required to sign brand equity and business promotion agreements with Tata Sons before they could use the brand name.
Also, when he took over, the Tata family had neither financial nor managerial control over many group companies. That has changed with Tata Sons' holding in most group companies now around 26 per cent or more. This made sure that the Tata Sons chairman would be the ultimate boss.
Tata has, thus, made sure that his successor, Cyrus Mistry, isn't likely to be battling cliques and fiefdoms within the group as he has meticulously dumped the earlier corporate commonwealth model, which forced him to lose a lot of time in fighting internal battles.
The new Tata group boss does have much to thank his predecessor for.
Image: Ratan Tata and his successor Cyrus Mistry.