The man who will head a group synonymous with Indian industry is an Irish national and shares his birth date (July 4) with the US Independence Day. But in many ways, he resembles the business giant he has been handpicked to succeed. Like Ratan Tata, Cyrus Pallonji Mistry, 43, is described by close friends as soft-spoken, candid and down to earth.
Again like Tata, Mistry is said to love cars -- especially SUVs -- and steers clear of the cocktail party circuit. But unlike lifelong bachelor Tata, Mistry is said to be a devoted family man. He is married to Rohiqa, daughter of renowed lawyer Iqbal Chagla, and the couple have two school-going sons.
Mistry is known to be a foodie and his favourite holiday destination is Europe. Besides Mumbai, he owns houses in London and Pune.
According to a Tata group insider, "Mistry is one person who can laugh at himself." His sense of humour should come in handy as he faces the challenges that lie ahead. A person who has shown a preference for the shadows, he will now have to put up with the arclights for years, perhaps decades. Tellingly, his Wikipedia profile got created within minutes of the announcement that he had been effectively chosen chairman-in-waiting of Tata Sons.
The youngest son of construction baron Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, Cyrus hails from one of the richest Indian families with a net worth of $7.6 billion. But he will disassociate himself from the family business to avoid conflict of interest.
He has been managing director of Shapoorji Pallonji & Company, which is part of the Rs 15,000-crore Shapoorji Pallonji Group (SP Group). An avid golfer and prolific reader, Mistry got the chance to join Tata Sons' board a year after his father retired as director in 2005. The family is the single largest shareholder in Tata Sons with a stake of 18%. Mistry is also on the board of Tata Elxsi and holds non-executive positions on the boards of several other companies. He is a trustee of the Breach Candy Hospital Trust as well.
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