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Meet the new crown prince of the Tata group

Last updated on: November 24, 2011 11:58 IST

Meet the new crown prince of the Tata group

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BS Reporter

"Who is Cyrus Pallonji Mistry?" - That's an odd question, considering the man was just named successor to Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata.

"A reclusive construction tycoon" is how an industry captain, who claims to be his friend, describes Cyrus. In that sense, he has striking similarities to the man he is succeeding and who he admires the most. Even after so many years of staying in the limelight, Tata also remains low-key and shy.

People who know Mistry well say he is the perfect choice for the job. "I think they, Tata and Cyrus, have many things in common, especially their nature and how they interact with people. Both are shy and prefer to be low-key, but very focused," said a person who knows Mistry from his early days.

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Image: Cyrus Mistry

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It seems he has been this way since his school days in The Cathedral & John Connon School.

"He was this absolutely unassuming smart guy in the class. The school had its share of celebrity kids and you could easily point them out. They would travel in their flashy cars and behave like one, but he was just like any other boy in the class," said the person on condition of anonymity. Another high-profile classmate of Mistry was Tanya Dubash, daughter of Adi Godrej.

His admirers also say in one sweep, the appointment of 43-year Mistry will lower the average age of Tata Sons board members, something it has been mandated to do.

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Image: Tanya Dubash, daughter of Adi Godrej was Mistry's classmate

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Understandably, not much is known about the man, except that the younger son of Shapoorji Pallonji Mistry has a civil engineering degree from Imperial College, London, and a management degree from London Business School. Mistry is married to Rohika Chagla, daughter of lawyer Iqbal Chagla. He is also an avid golfer.

Among many other positions he has held within the Tata group, he served as a director of Tata Elxsi, from September 24, 1990, to October 26, 2009.

In 2006, he joined the Tata Sons board. People who have interacted with him at various board meetings say he is a well-spoken person and is mindful of others' views, a trait he will need to have if he has to run the $70-billion diversified Tata group.

When Mistry joined the Tata Sons board in 2006, it was widely perceived as recognition of his family's 18 per cent stake in the holding company.

It's due to the same reason that Mistry was on the selection committee set up to choose Tata's successor. He left the team when it decided to look at him. Even when the committee made its presentation to the Tata Sons board, he was not present.



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