Cyrus Mistry dead: Son of tycoon Pallonji Mistry, was second person from outside Tata family to head group

Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of Tata Sons and son of business tycoon Pallonji Mistry, died in a car accident in Maharashtra’s Palghar on Sunday. He was 54. He was reportedly returning to Mumbai from Udwada in Gujarat where he had gone to visit the fire temple.

The younger son of Pallonji Mistry, who died in June this year, Cyrus was the sixth chairman of Tata Sons and took over in 2012 after Ratan Tata retired from his executive role in December. In November 2011, Cyrus Mistry was appointed as the deputy chairman of the Tata Group. He occupied the board of Tata Sons in 2006 after his father retired from the board. He was the second person from outside the Tata family to head the group in its over 150 years of existence.

Cyrus Mistry was, however, ousted as Tata Sons chairman in October 2016 following reports of disagreements with Ratan Tata over several business decisions. He was subsequently also removed as a director on the board of the holding company in February 2017. The Mistry family owns 18.5 per cent stake in Tata Sons and is the largest single shareholder in Tata Sons.

While he challenged his removal from Tata Sons, his petition was rejected by the National Company Law Tribunal. Though that decision was overturned by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal in 2019, his dismissal was upheld by the Supreme Court. Among the reasons cited for his removal was the fact that he had replaced some trusted hands of Ratan Tata and his proposed sale of the Tata Steel port plant in the UK was not taken well. Further, the long dispute with Japan’s Docomo group also worked against him.

Born on July 4, 1968, Cyrus Pallonji Mistry completed his graduation in Civil Engineering from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London. He also holds a master’s degree in management from the London Business School and is a fellow at the Institution of Civil Engineers. Mistry was involved in the family’s flagship construction business before he left it to join the Tatas.

While Cyrus resigned from Shapoorji Pallonji & Co following his appointment as chairman of Tata Sons, his elder brother Shapoor Mistry is the chairman of the Shapoorji Pallonji group. He had joined the Shapoorji Pallonji Group in 1991 as a director. Thereafter, he has been credited with the group’s expansion outside India, in the Middle East and Africa, and he was the managing director of the group till he moved to Tata Sons.

Besides Tata Sons and Shapoorji Pallonji Group, Mistry had also served as a director on the boards of several other firms, including Forbes Gokak and United Motors (India). He was a trustee of the NICMAR.

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