Business tycoon and former chairman of the Tata Group, Cyrus Mistry passed away in an accident in Palghar district, Maharashtra yesterday evening. The Indian born-Irish businessman was travelling from Ahmedabad to Mumbai when the accident occurred.
Who was Cyrus Mistry?
Born to Pallonji Mistry – the single largest shareholder of Tata Sons (18.5%), Cyrus Mistry was the former chairman of the Tata Group. Before his journey with the Tata Group, Mistry became the Director of Shapoorji Pallonji and Co. Ltd in 1991, at the young age of 26. Over the years, Mistry has been credited with taking the family’s business to greater heights, acquiring a strong presence in India, Africa and the Middle East.
During his tenure at SP Group, Mistry also took over his father’s position on the Tata Group board in 2006 after the latter’s retirement. In 2012, he went on to become the sixth chairman of the Tata Group, succeeding Ratan Tata post his retirement. In addition to being the youngest chairman of the Tata Group, Mistry was also the second person without the Tata surname to head the group.
Legal battle with Tata Sons
Cyrus Mistry’s tenure at Tata Sons was short-lived, as the businessman was relieved from his position in October 2016, citing disagreements in business practices. His tenure is said to be the shortest for a Tata Sons chairman. Following his dismissal, Mistry appealed to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), in which he claimed that the removal was illegal and that the decision was oppressive towards small shareholders of the company.
The legal battle between Cyrus Mistry and Tata Sons became well-known in the country and lasted almost six years. The NCLAT initially ruled in favour of the Tata Group, however, Mistry went on to challenge this decision post which the NCLAT ruled in favour of Cyrus Mistry in 2019. Mistry was reinstated as the Chairperson for Tata Sons for his remaining term while the tribunal declared the appointment of TCS CEO Natarajan Chandrasekaran as executive chairman of Tata Sons, illegal. This decision, however, was challenged by Ratan Tata and the Tata Group within the Supreme Court, where the court ruled in favour of the Tatas, placing a stay order on Mistry’s reinstatement.
The 6-year-long legal battle finally ended in May 2022, when India’s top court eventually ruled against Mistry, dismissing a review petition filed by the SP Group in May 2022.
Mistry’s net worth as of 2018 was said to be approximately USD 10 billion. He owned an 18.4% stake in Tata Sons, through his company, Cyrus Investments Pvt. Ltd.
Mistry’s death comes as a double shock for the family, following the death of Cyrus’ father Pallonji Mistry, who died on June 28, 2022, at the age of 93. According to the Bloomberg billionaires index, the SP Group has a net worth of about $30 billion in 2022.
The SP Group was taken over by Cyrus’ older brother, Shapoor Mistry following Cyrus’ entry into the Tata Group. This decision was taken by Cyrus himself who wanted ” … to ensure that there is no conflict of interest with the Tata group, including banning his family companies from entering into any business with any Tata entities unless through open competitive budding”.
Cyrus Mistry is survived by his wife Rohiqua and two sons, Firoz and Zahan.