Meet the new crown
December 2, 2011
prince of the Tata Group
Cyrus Mistry Ratan Tata
The next occupant of the corner office at Bombay House, the Mumbai-based headquarters of
the Tata Group, will not have a Tata surname. Cyrus Pallonji Mistry, 43, was
appointed deputy chairman of Tata Sons,
the group’s holding company, November
23, ending the suspense over India Inc’s
most awaited corporate succession.
Mistry will work with chairman Ratan N
Tata over the next year and take over
from him when Tata retires in December
This, Tata Sons said, is according to the
unanimous recommendation of a selection committee. Mistry was originally
part of the committee but recused himself after other members said he was a
It’s only the second time in its 143-year
history that the group will have a non-Tata at the helm. The only person outside the Tata family to become chairman
of the group was Nowroji Saklatwala
from 1932 to 1938. He was succeeded by
J R D Tata.
Mistry may not have a Tata surname,
but he is the youngest son of Pallonji
Mistry, whose family is the largest individual shareholder in Tata Sons, with 18
per cent stake.
A graduate of civil engineering from
Imperial College, London, and a master
of science in management from the
London Business School, he is currently
managing director of Shapoorji Pallonji
Group, which has interests in construction, real estate, infrastructure and textiles. But, it is a fraction of the size of the
Tata was effusive in his praise of
Mistry. Terming it as ‘a good and far-
sighted choice,’ Tata said Mistry had
been on the board of Tata Sons since
August 2006 ( when Mistry was just 38)
and he had been impressed with ‘the
quality and caliber of his participation,
his astute observations and his humility.’
Tata said Mistry was qualified to take on the responsibili-
ty being offered. He would be committed to working with
Mistry over the next year to give him the exposure, the
involvement and the operating experience to equip him to
undertake the full responsibility of the group on his own
In his statement, Mistry said he would legally dissociate
himself from the management of his family businesses to
avoid any issue of conflict of interest, in keeping with the
values and ethics of the Tata Group. He said he felt deeply
honored by this appointment.
‘I am aware that an enormous responsibility, with a great
legacy, has been entrusted to me. I look forward to Mr Tata’s
guidance in the year ahead in meeting the expectations of
the group,’ he added.
The appointment came as a surprise as speculation had
earlier ranged from Tata’s half-brother Noel Tata to outsiders like Indra Nooyi, Arun Sarin, Anshu Jain, etc.
Though some said Mistry was chosen more for the family’s large stake in Tata Sons, people who know him well said
he was the perfect choice.