Cyrus Mistry: Civil engineer to Tata chairman, Know all about him

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(File Photos) Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of Tata Sons

Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of Tata Sons died on Sunday in a car accident. The Palghar Police informed that his Mercedes car crashed into a divider after the driver lost control near Charoti on a bridge around 3.15 pm.

There were four people in the car. Cyrus Mistry was one of the Two people who died on the spot. Their mortals are being brought for post-mortem, the police said.

Many top leaders and businessmen along with PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah shared condolence messages on the untimely demise of the industrialist.


Son of a Business Tycoon

The 54-year-old businessman was the younger son of billionaire and construction tycoon Pallonji Mistry, owner of Shapoorji Pallonji & Co. Ltd. He was born into a Parsi business family in Mumbai in 1968. However, his father was an Indian citizen his mother was an Irish. Later, his father chose to become an Irish citizen. Mistry too had Irish citizenship but was a permanent resident of India.

A Civil Engineer with many other degrees

After taking primary education from Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai, Mistry went to London. He completed his Bachelor of Engineering degree in Civil Engineering from Imperial College London in 1990.

Later, he earned International Executive Master in Management from London Business School in 1996.

He had also the degree of MSc in Management and a BCom degree from Mumbai university.

Leader of Family Business

After completing his studies, Mistry joined his family business as director of Shapoorji Pallonji Group. Under his leadership, the family’s construction business was extended to ten other countries.

He also diversified the company portfolio from construction to designing and building complex projects in the marine, oil and gas, and rail sectors. This led the company to set many constructions records such tallest residential towers, the longest rail bridge, and the largest affordable housing projects.

How did he become Part of the Tata Family?

In the 1930s, his grandfather first bought shares in Tata Sons. This acquisition made his father the largest single shareholder in Tata Group.

Besides, Cyrus Mistry had also a family relationship with Tata Family. Aloo, his one of two sisters is married to Noel Tata, half-brother of Ratan Tata.

He himself was married to Rohiqa Chagla, the daughter of prominent Indian lawyer Iqbal Chagla.

Served Tata for 26 years

Professionally, Cyrus Mistry became part of the Tata group in 1990. He served as a Director of Tata Elxsi Limited from 1990 to 2009 and was a director of Tata Power Co. Ltd until 2006.

In 2006, He joined as a board member of Tata Sons, after one year of retirement of his father from the Tata Group. Later, He was appointed as director of several other Tata Companies.

In 2011 he was appointed as the deputy chairman of the Tata Group, later elevated to the Chairman position as Ratan Tata’s successor. Mistry was appointed Chairman in 2012 after the retirement of Ratan Tata.

Cyrus Mistry served as the sixth Chairman of Indian Conglomerate Tata Sons between 2012 to 2016 and was only the second person after Nowroji Saklatwala to be chairman outside the Tata family.

Cyrus Mistry also led all the major companies of Tata such as Tata steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Power, Tata Teleservices, Indian Hotels, Tata Global Beverages, and Tata chemicals.

A Long battle with Tata

After serving for 26 years his leadership at Tata Group came into controversy in 2016. Mistry had allegedly made many changes in the business practices which resulted in an increase in capital expenditure but a decrease in shareholders’ return. He also replaced the proposed sale of the Tata Steel port plant in the UK, which was seen as harming the goodwill earned by Tata abroad.

Besides, He was also involved in a dispute with the Docomo group, and last but not least Tata had to pay an amount of $1.2 billion in the arbitration to the Japanese group.

These disputes forced Tata Sons to oust him through a vote of non-confidence. In October 2016 the board voted to remove Mistry from the Chairmanship of Tata Sons.

Mistry challenged the action in National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). In July 2018, NCLT issued a verdict in Tata Sons against his mismanagement.

The verdict of NCLT was further challenged in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), where the appointment of TCS CEO Natarajan Chandrasekaran was declared illegal and Mistry was reinstated as chairman of Tata Sons for the remaining period.

This time In 2020, Tata Sons challenged the verdict in Supreme Court. The apex court stayed the judicial orders passed by NCLAT as well as ordered Tata Sons not to exercise its power to push out shares of minority holders in the company. The hearing of the case was still in the Supreme court.

Director of Many Other Global giants

Cyrus Mistry not only led the Tata Group but was also associated with many other global giants. He was director of Forbes Gokak, United Motors (India).

Mistry joined the family construction company, Shapoorji Pallonji & Co. Ltd as a director in 1991. He was managing director of Shapoorji Pallonji & Company which is part of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, founded in the 19th century by his grandfather.

He led Convergence Media Private Limited India, and Business Development and Technology at DQ Entertainment (International) Limited as Senior Vice President.

He also served as the Director of Forvol International Services Ltd., Cyrus Investments Ltd., Buildbazaar Technologies (India) Pvt. Ltd., Sterling Investment Corporation Pvt. Ltd., Samalpatti Power Co. Pvt. Ltd., Shapoorji Pallonji Finance Ltd., Oman Shapoorji Construction Co. Ltd., and Muscat Pallonji Shapoorji & Co. Pvt. Ltd.