A Brief Biography of Cyrus Mistry the new Chairman of Tata Group

Cyrus Pallonji MistryCyrus Mistry is going to replace Ratan Tata as the new Chairman of Tata Group. Unlike his predecessor, he leads a low-profile life  and is an Irish by Citizenship.  His sister is married to Noel Tata, the half brother of Ratan Tata.

Mistry was born on 4 July 1968 to construction tycoon Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry and Patsy Perin Dubash.  He is a graduate of civil engineering from Imperial College London (1990) and has an MSc in management from London Business School (1997).

Mistry’s grandfather first bought shares in Tata Sons in the 1930s, a stake that currently stands at 18.5 percent, which is in the hands of Mistry’s father, the largest single shareholder in a firm mostly controlled by trusts.

Mistry is married to Rohiqa Chagla, the daughter of lawyer Iqbal Chagla and the granddaughter of renowned jurist M.C. Chagla. Together, Mistry and his wife have two sons.

He has served as a director of Tata Sons since 2006 till he was appointed as Deputy Chairman in November 2011 and Chairman in December 2012.

Mistry joined the board of Shapoorji Pallonji & Co as director in 1991. Three years later, he was appointed managing director of the group.

Under Mr Mistry’s guidance, Shapoorji Pallonji’s construction business has grown from a turnover of $20 million to approximately $1.5 billion.

Mistry is also a trustee of the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai and is on the board of the Imperial College India Foundation. Besides, he is on the Board of Governors of the National Institute of Construction Management and Research and is a fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers.

Known to like golf, he stays in a sea-facing house, also inhabited by his father and elder brother, in Mumbai’s upscale Malabar Hill. Born into Mumbai’s famous Parsi community, he is married to Rohika, daughter of legal luminary Iqbal Chagla.

He has an elder brother, Shapoor Mistry, while one of his sisters is married to Noel Tata, Ratan Tata’s half-brother.

“He loves his underground profile,” said Supriya Sule, member of parliament, daughter of union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and a close family friend, describing Mistry. “He has also always been very humble.”

A high-powered panel, which included influential British businessman Lord Sushanta Kumar Bhattacharyya who runs Warwick Manufacturing, lawyer Shirin Bharucha, and N.A. Soonawala, vice-chairman of Tata Sons, zeroed in on Mistry after an 18-month search.

On the selection of his successor, Ratan Tata had said that he was impressed by the “quality and calibre” of Mistry’s participation on the Tata Sons board and praised his “astute observations and humility”.

“Be your own man, you should take your own call and you should decide what you want to,” Ratan Tata said in a recent interview when asked what he would like to advise if asked by Mistry.

“Just be driven by the fact that every act you do and every move you make has to stand the test of public scrutiny,” Ratan Tata advised.

Mistry also oversaw the diversification of the company from construction to design and building of complex projects in the marine, oil and gas and rail sectors. The group employs over 23,000 people and has a strong presence in India, the Middle East and Africa.

Besides serving as a director at Tata Sons, Mistry also served Tata Elxsi and Tata Power. He is also a senior vice president of production, DQ Entertainment Plc.

He has served as a non-executive director of Forbes Gokak Ltd and was associated with Convergence Media Pvt Ltd as senior vice president, operations and planning, and UTV Toons India.