Journey of Cyrus Mistry | The Indian-Born Irish Businessman and Former Chairperson of the Tata Group

Shalini Rath Shalini Rath
Sep 5, 2022 6 min read
Journey of Cyrus Mistry | The Indian-Born Irish Businessman and Former Chairperson of the Tata Group

Cyrus Pallonji Mistry was an Indian-born Irish businessman. He was the sixth chairperson of the Tata Group, an Indian Business Conglomerate for nearly five years. Furthermore, Cyrus Mistry was the second individual to run the corporation who did not have the surname Tata, following Nowroji Saklatwala, an Indian businessman.

Through his company, Cyrus Investments Pvt. Ltd., he held an 18.4% stake in Tata Sons. Recently, his untimely demise has left the nation in shock with many businesspeople and politicians condoling his unfortunate demise. Cyrus Mistry had a net worth of about $10 billion at the time of his death.

Let's take a read through Cyrus Mistry's successful journey of becoming an Indian-Irish Businessman and all the key aspects of his career, education, and many more interesting facts.

Cyrus Mistry - Biography

Name Cyrus Pallonji Mistry
Born 4 July 1968
Birthplace Mumbai, India
Died 4 September 2022 (aged 54 years)
Citizenship Irish
Education Imperial College London, London Business School
Occupation Businessman
Net Worth $10 billion approx (2022)
Wife Rohiqa Chagla
Children Firoz Mistry and Zahan Mistry

Cyrus Mistry - Personal Life
Cyrus Mistry - Education
Cyrus Mistry - Career
Cyrus Mistry - Controversy
Cyrus Mistry - Unknown Facts

Cyrus Mistry Killed in Car Accident | PM Modi Calls it a Big Loss to the World of Commerce

Cyrus Mistry - Personal Life

Cyrus Mistry was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, to a Parsi family, as the younger son of Indian billionaire and construction magnate Pallonji Mistry and his wife Patsy Perin Dubash. Cyrus Mistry's father, Pallonji Mistry, was the head of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, a multinational corporation founded in the 19th century by Pallonji Mistry's grandfather.

The Mistry family was a part of Mumbai's Parsi community, Zoroastrian followers who had prospered as merchants and entrepreneurs since colonial times. Both of Cyrus Mistry's parents are Zoroastrian and have origins in India. His mother, on the other hand, was born in Ireland, and his father decided to get Irish citizenship. Cyrus has three siblings, Shapoor Mistry, his elder brother, and two sisters; Laila and Aloo. Laila is married to Rustom Jehangir, a portfolio fund manager in London. Aloo is married to Noel Tata, Ratan Tata's half-brother.

Cyrus Mistry's grandfather, Shapoorji Mistry, initially purchased a share in Tata Sons in the 1930s. Mistry's father had a shareholding, which today stands at 18.4%, and it is the largest block of shares held by a single entity.

Cyrus Mistry and His Wife, Rohiqa Chagla
Cyrus Mistry and His Wife, Rohiqa Chagla

Cyrus Mistry married Rohiqa Chagla, the daughter of barrister Iqbal Chagla and granddaughter of M.C. Chagla, a former Minister of External Affairs of India. Iqbal Chagla also advised Cyrus Mistry on the best line of action in his legal dispute with Tata Sons. Firoz Mistry and Zahan Mistry are the sons of Cyrus Mistry and Rohiqa Chagla.


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Cyrus Mistry - Education

Cyrus Mistry had his formal education at the reputed Cathedral & John Connon School in South Mumbai.

In 1990, he received a Bachelor of Engineering in civil engineering from the University of London after studying at Imperial College London. Later, he attended London Business School and received an International Executive Master in Management from the University of London in 1996.

Cyrus Mistry - Career

Cyrus Mistry joined the family firm as the Director of Shapoorji Pallonji & Co. Ltd. in 1991. Three years later, he was named the group's Managing Director. His father, Pallonji Mistry served on the board of Tata Sons.

After his father's retirement, Cyrus Mistry joined Tata Sons' Board of Directors in September 2006. From September 1990 to October 2009, he was the Director of Tata Elxsi Limited, and he was also the Director of Tata Power Co. Ltd till September 2006. In addition, Cyrus Mistry was the chairman of all major Tata corporations, including Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, Tata Industries, Tata Steel, Tata Teleservices, Indian Hotels, Tata Global Beverages, and Tata Chemicals.

Regardless, in October 2016, the members of the Tata Sons Board agreed to dismiss Cyrus Mistry as the Chairman of Tata Sons over some disagreements with his way of handling the business of the company.

Besides serving as the Chairperson of Tata Group, Mistry was also a non-executive director at Forbes Gokak Ltd and a senior vice-president for operations and planning at Convergence Media Pvt Ltd and UTV Toons India.

Cyrus Mistry - Controversy

Cyrus Mistry Controversy with Tata Sons
Cyrus Mistry Controversy with Tata Sons

Cyrus Mistry's relationship with Tata Sons got stained when he was abruptly dismissed from his post of Chairman by the Tata Sons Board on the 24th of October, 2016.

The reason put forth by the Tata Group is that Cyrus Mistry failed to manage the company's operations in an appropriate manner such as the dispute with NTT DoCoMo, due to which they had to decide to terminate him from the company after offering him the chance to resign voluntarily. As a result, Cyrus Mistry started a legal fight with Tata Sons.

In July 2018, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), which condemns disputes about Indian firms, announced a decision in favour of Tata Sons on mismanagement claims filed by Mistry in 2016, two months after his ouster as Chairman via a vote of no confidence. This wasn't the end, as Cyrus Mistry challenged the verdict and decided to appeal against the decision.

After his appeal against the order, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) restored Mistry as Tata Sons' Chairperson for the remainder of his tenure in 2019. NCLAT claimed that the nomination of TCS CEO Natarajan Chandrasekaran as Tata Sons' executive chairman was invalid. In one month, Tata Sons appealed to the Supreme Court of India against the NCLAT's verdict. However, Mistry had remarked that he would not return to the Chairmanship of the conglomerate and instead wanted to have his membership on the company's board. With all these happenings, the SC's order did come in favour of the Tatas, however, they had also ruled out that Tata Sons would not use its jurisdiction under Article 25 of the Firm Law to force minority shareholders out of the company.

The legal battle continued for another two years. Finally, the Supreme Court denied Mistry's review petitions against its own verdict in 2021, which supported the group's decision to remove him as the chairman, in its final judgment on May 20, 2022. With this, the six-year court fight between the Mistrys and the Tata Group concluded.


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Cyrus Mistry - Unknown Facts

Some of the unknown facts about Cyrus Mistry are:

  • Cyrus Mistry founded Tata Digital Healthcare in 2015 to offer healthcare services based on analytics and electronic medical records, as well as mobile tracking of health and wellness metrics. Tata Health is the company's new name for its digital healthcare initiative.
  • Cyrus Mistry was a soft-spoken person.
  • He was fond of SUVs and horse racing.
  • Cyrus Mistry was a fitness freak who wished to live for many years.
  • He was a fellow member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
  • Cyrus Mistry was the first non-Indian citizen to lead the Tata Group.
  • Cyrus Mistry set up a venture capital firm Mistry Ventures LLP in 2018 along with his elder brother, Shapoor Mistry.

Conclusion

Cyrus Mistry's untimely death has undoubtedly seized the nation's attention. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his grief and regarded Cyrus Mistry as a promising business leader who was greatly responsible for India's economic growth.

FAQs

Who was Cyrus Mistry?

Cyrus Mistry was an Indian-born Irish businessman. He was the Managing Director of the construction giant, Shapoorji Pallonji Group and is most popularly known as the only non-Indian to serve as the Chairperson of India's prominent conglomerate, the Tata Group from 2012 to 2016.

Who died in Cyrus Mistry's car accident?

Cyrus Mistry and Jhangir Pandole died in a car accident on September 4, 2022. The car hit the road divider on the bridge on the Surya river, leading to the death of the two on spot. The car was driven by a Mumbai-based gynaecologist, Anahita Pandole.

Why was Mistry removed from Tata?

The reason for the removal of Cyrus Mistry from his position in the Tata Group was mainly due to disagreements over the running of the conglomerate.

Apart from being the Chairperson of Tata Sons from 2012 to 2016, Cyrus shares another relationship with Ratan Tata. Cyrus's sister, Aloo is married to Noel Tata, who is the half-brother of Ratan Tata.

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