Rejecting “Second Class Standing” Valli Arunachalam Issues Legal Notice To Murugappa Family
After being denied a seat on the board of Amabdi Investments, Valli Arunachalam has issued a legal notice to Murugappa family members, along with her mother and sister. Arunachalam is the daughter of late MV Murugappan, former executive chairman of Ambadi Investments Ltd (AIL). along with her mother and sister, Arunachalam holds 8.15 percent stakes in the company.
After her father passed away in 2017, she has been locked in a bitter battle for representation in the boardroom with the Murugappa group. “While every family branch, has a representative on the board of the holding company, ours does not. Ours is the only family branch that is comprised of women. Although I have as much educational and industrial experience as any male family member, I have not been given a board seat despite my repeated requests to the Ambadi board,” Arunachalam told SheThePeople.TV about her legal battle with Murugappa group in a previous interview. Now after being denied a place in the company’s boardroom, she has issued a legal notice to the family members to settle her father’s will.
Here’s what Valli Arunachalam’s statement says:
“On behalf of my mother, sister and me, I can hereby confirm that following careful and thorough deliberation and in consultation with our independent advisors, we have decided to seek legal remedies with respect to our ongoing efforts to settle my father’s will. Accordingly, we issued legal notices to the Murugappa family members, Ambadi Investments Ltd. (“AIL” or the “Company”) management, the Company and other people in relation thereto. It was a big step for us and a very unfortunate one, as we have worked tirelessly over the course of the last three years to bring about an amicable settlement of my father’s interests in AIL. With the family voting unanimously to reject my appointment to the AIL board, we have seemingly reached the end of the road for an amicable settlement.
It would be impossible to enumerate each step we have taken over the last three years but we can assure you that we, together with our advisors, have taken the “leave no stone unturned” approach in an effort to bring about an amicable settlement. Such efforts include, inter alia, a proposal for the engagement of an independent mediator. Each entreaty has been met with some combination of silence, combativeness, false assurances, and delay tactics. Given how the Murugappa family has treated our family branch over the past three years, we have no confidence that our substantial stake in the family business will be safeguarded by them. Perhaps most confounding to us is that the Murugappa family has attempted to project their stand as principled and righteous.
What is clear to us after three years is that the family’s tactics are nothing more than a robe to conceal their socially regressive gender bias. With only female heirs, the historically male dominated family business is effectively asking that my family assume a second class standing in AIL without any of the rights or privileges enjoyed by other families (many of whom have equal economic interests). A considerable portion of my late father’s estate is tied to AIL, and it is entirely unreasonable to expect my family to relinquish control and visibility over these holdings to the broader Murugappa family. To date, no logical or legally valid explanation has been provided by the Murugappa family as to why my family should be subordinated in this manner.
What is most hurtful is that despite my father’s lifetime of dedicated service to the family and business, no other family branch, all of whom are shareholders in the Company, has come forward to support us. Instead, they have been united in casting us out as pariahs for daring to challenge the family’s male only business hierarchy.
As we move forward, we are honored and very appreciative of the public support that we have received since news of our struggle broke. We recognize that our efforts have broader implications, especially with respect to gender equality – which is crucial for India to realize its full economic potential and social parity. We have complete faith in the judiciary and are emboldened by some of the recent decisions. We are confident that justice will prevail.”
Valli Arunachalam spoke to SheThePeople.TV on the legal feud with the Murugappa family and what has kept her going despite facing a glass ceiling in the AIL boardroom. Watch the interview here:
Feature Image Credit: The News Minute