DealZone

Evelyn Davis thinks Tata sells cars to “low outcasts”

May 8, 2008

evelyndavis.jpgShareholder activist and “Queen of the Corporate Jungle” Evelyn Davis is not happy about Ford Motor’s planned sale of British brands Jaguar and Land Rover to Indian automaker Tata Motors. And when Evelyn Davis is not happy about something, she makes sure people know it.

At the annual Ford shareholders meeting on Thursday, Davis, who grills CEOs at hundreds of annual shareholder meetings, called the sale “outrageous” and urged shareholders to vote against the entire board except Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr.

 ”Tata sells cars that are $2,500 to the lowest of the low outcasts of India,” Davis said, adding that Jaguar represented elegance and exclusivity. “How could the board sell us out to an outfit like that who sell to people like that.”

Ford has agreed to sell Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata in $2.3 billion deal that gives Tata a line-up ranging from the world’s cheapest car to some of its more expensive.

Davis also urged Ford to dump Chief Executive Alan Mulally, hired from Boeing in 2006, because he was “not a car guy.” She urged Bill Ford Jr, who had stepped down from that position to hire Mulally, to retake the CEO position.    

“I think you should go back to Boeing,” she told Mulally.

Bill Ford defended Mulally’s record as CEO, saying that his management has moved the turnaround quicker “than anyone thought he could.”         

After a repeated exchange with Bill Ford Jr., and requests for details on the company’s hedging practices for currency rates and commodity costs, and questions on the amount of legal fees it has to pay each year, Davis said: “Remember one more thing, a prime minister only serves at the pleasure of the king, and I want the king back,” she said.      

“If you are referring to me, thank you, but …,” Ford said. (The rest of his response was drowned out by Davis)     

“I want to dump all of the directors except you because you are my king, and you delivered me my Jaguar personally.”

“I paid a regular price by the way, for those who didn’t know that.”

Well, who knew Prime Minister Davis owned a Jaguar? Stay tuned for another set of interesting Davis comments — sure to come at GM’s annual meeting scheduled for June.

Comments
25 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Tell her to shut up. It seems she is no human to call others outcasts. Dirty mentality

 

Evelyn Davis’s antediluvian mindset is out of touch with today’s India and capabilities of its industries.

Posted by Sridhar R | Report as abusive
 

Why does this total nut-case continue to be covered by the press. I recall at one of the SEC’s roundtable leading up to the last proxy access proposals, she went on with a rant about being prettier than Nell Minow. This latest disgusting rant tops that. Crass, crass, crass.

 

Evelyn Davis is so outdated! She doesn’t even realize that emerging economies are going to account for a major proportion of world production and consumption. The emerging companies, driven by this strength and with a focus on globalization have risen spectacularly dueing past 4-5 years. Tata remains at the forefront of this revolution, and this is the best that could happen to JLR. Commenting on Tata Motor’s customer base in a derogatory tone does not reflect highly on Evelyn Davis’s understanding of the sweeping changes and a shift in equilibrium in corporate power. My suggestion to her is:1. Refresh – your knowledge2. Refrain – from such remarks3. Retreat – to your cosier world, instead of being a trigger happy “activist”regards,

Posted by Brian George | Report as abusive
 

She needs to see a shrink. Evelyn stinks! Banish her from media. What a hopeless bundle of frustration.

Posted by Agastya Sen | Report as abusive
 

My one liner:Dogs bark when Elephant is moving. Does anyone listen to dogs ?

Posted by Ash | Report as abusive
 

Comments by Evelyn Davis shows that she is a dinosaur in today’s world. Calling people who cannot afford expensive cars as “low outcasts” is abusive, racist and discriminatory. It is funny that her comments are considered “interesting” rather than criminal.

Posted by Prahaar | Report as abusive
 

First they laugh at you, then they call you names and then you win.

Posted by Devesh | Report as abusive
 

ya, nice choice of words from her. shareholder activist?sounds more like a typical greedy arrogant american louse.someone needs to tell her american car manufacturers suck and have been subsidized or they’d all be out of business like our airlines.

Posted by Dan Morgan | Report as abusive
 

At first I took offence – but when I did a bio on this lady its not a big deal.She trades favours to corporate men and has had four face lifts! Talk about vanity.The remarks are still offensive but they are not from anyone important. Now, Im more offended by Reuters publishing news like Fox to get waste of time click throughs from readers like me….

Posted by Sanjay | Report as abusive
 

Her remarks about Tata’s clientel in India are simply racist. They evidence her distaste to associate with what she sees as a ‘lowly’ and therefore inferior people and the company that caters to their needs. That she would get airtime in any forum with this trash is unacceptable.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive
 

davis is true.it is shocking , just like prada, versace, armani sold to a top chinese fashion retailer.It is true forecast that the quality of both car brands will be degraded devastatingly.people will stop buying them.jaguar & landrover will just be memories to cherish about.anyway the cycle goes onChina & india rules.

Posted by Milan Limbu | Report as abusive
 

Perhaps she should use her power (as the self-proclaimed Queen) to draw aid from the CEOs she rants against for the not-so-fortunate human beings she calls outcasts. It’s actually hard to believe that she fights FOR shareholders’ rights.

Posted by VL | Report as abusive
 

“the lowest of the low outcasts” So what? Is that business criteria? Big mouth. And shame on Reuters for reprint such displays of vulgarity.

Posted by M. Justice | Report as abusive
 

“Queen of the racist jungle” would have been appropriate to describe her.The Tatas are actually buying the loss making company and not begging for it. By doing so they are actually extending a favour to the lowest of the exploited and racially discriminated American factory workers. It is blatantly obvious that, the rise of the east is not going down well with some people who cant stop their power slipping and going into the hands of deserving and more enterprising people. It is refreshing to know that the rest of the board doesnt think of her.Evelyn, when you come to India begging for forgiveness for your crass comments and behaviour, dont expect the lowest of the low outcasts in India to give you a free lift.

Posted by mullahmahendra | Report as abusive
 

Evelyn Davis is a Dutch born HOLOCAUST survivor. She belonged to the “Untermenschen” class, yet she has the gall to call people as outcasts elsewhere. Having faced racial genocide, its a wonder that she be so very insensitive.Untermenschen – “Holocaust victims” generally refers to Jews, the German Nazis also persecuted and often killed millions of members of other groups they considered inferior.

Posted by rsg | Report as abusive
 

a cantankerous and venomous-tongued granny

Posted by SR | Report as abusive
 

I would be ashamed to be in her company.

 

“How could the board sell us out to an outfit like that who sell to people like that.” First of all who is us? Does she not know that Jaguar was started by Ford? It used to be a British company. Second, what does she mean when she calls Tataa an outfit? Someone capable of buying off Jaguar and Landrover is more than an outfit. She is an ignorant fool.

Posted by JD | Report as abusive
 

what a disgusting bigot. she thinks earth is owned and operated by rich people like her ? she probably can’t digest the fact that no british company could compete with the tata. it is time to bite the bullet lady. get over it or dont buy jaguar or land rover.

Posted by vivek | Report as abusive
 

Still she is living in old age concept. Does she not like diversification? She loves a divided society.

Posted by Amar | Report as abusive
 

Yes Evelyn, TATA sells to every Indian, irrespective of creed or color, it hires them and treats them with dignity. On the other hand, you, are still so stuck up about your skin and racial superiority and so crass that you cant even hide your bigotry. If Ratan Tata were to read your comments, he would in fact wonder, if he should actually sell Jaguars to people like you, who are so full of themselves that they consider themselves superior to those poorer than them. Shame on you lady and shame on those who think you speak any sort of sense.

Posted by Aks | Report as abusive
 

I wonder if Ms. Davis realises that Land Rover’s recognised worlwide not for the Range Rover or LR3 or RR Sport but for the Defender which serves the common man.

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive
 

An offensive sub-human of NO consequence. Racist, nasty and irrelevant, as most so-called shareholder activists, who add no value, but feel important one half-hour a year at an annual meeting.

Posted by Kangaroo1960 | Report as abusive
 

December 1,2009.I was fortunate to attend that meeting and regurgitated after hearing the remarks from her Ladyship. From her sincere remarks, we had an insight into the American society dealings with racial issues. Moreover, it was downright irresponsible for the Ford Motor Company to allow this type of diatribe on its public forum. Having been a former employee of Ford. Please Mr.Bill Ford, allow me to appologise for the Ford Motor Company.Hear it all at the Ford Webcast of May 10, 2008.

Posted by mike naraine | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/