A storm is brewing in the $5 billion Chennai-based Murugappa Group, as Valli Arunachalam, elder daughter of the late M.V. Murugappan, has locked horns with family patriarch 80-year-old M.V. Subbiah, who apparently is representing the entire family in the issue, demanding that female heirs in the family be given equal opportunity in the family business, on the same terms as male heirs.
Mr. Murugappan passed away in 2017 and is survived by his wife and two daughters, Valli Arunachalam and Vellachi Murugappan.
Valli Arunachalam, karta of the MVM HUF, is seeking a board representation in Ambadi Investments Ltd. (AIL), the holding company of the 119-year Murugappa group, after her father, the patriarch of the Murugappa family, passed away.
While the MVM family is among the largest blocks of shareholders in AIL, the group’s public unlisted holding company, after Murugappan’s passing away, they do not have any representation on the board, whereas every other part of the family tree has due representation on the board, which exercises control on the business empire.
When asked for comments, Ms. Arunachalam told The Hindu , “My father, the patriarch of the Murugappa family, passed away in 2017. In keeping with his wishes, our family is seeking representation on the board of Ambadi Investments Ltd. (AIL) as our family is one of the largest shareholders.”
As Karta of MVM HUF, Ms. Arunachalam is seeking a fair valuation of their assets from the larger family.
“Even after more than two years of my father’s death, we are still struggling to get the fair value of our assets as we are two daughters and my mother. The family has historically followed a practice of only allowing male heirs to run their business enterprises. This fight is not for us but for all women facing discrimination,” said Ms. Arunachalam.
After the demise of the former patriarch of the group, a branch was without a male heir for only the second time in the history of the family.
In the previous instance, one of Murugappan’s uncles, A.M.M. Murugappa Chettiar (second generation), adopted a male child from another part of the family tree because he had only daughters, but the progressive Murugappan bequeathed his entire estate to his wife and two daughters.
A detailed query sent to Murugappa Group on Thursday remained unanswered.