The New Big Boss of India’s Biggest Brand

24 Nov,2011


The search for Ratan Tata’s successor of chairman of the Rs 4.3 lakh crore Tata group has ended with the appointment of Mr Cyrus P Mistry as deputy chairman of Tata Sons. But who’s this 43-year-old Mystery Man?


Read on for:


> The Main story on announcement with Mr Ratan Tata’s statement

> Statement of Mr Cyrus Mistry

> Profile 1: Avid golfer & foodie, avoids cocktail circuit

> What Titans Of India Inc Have To Say

> Profile 2: A reticent man with strategic vision, humility

> Profile 3: Official profile from the Tata corporate website



The Main Story


The mystery over who would succeed Mr Ratan Tata as chairman of the Tata Group ended yesterday as the board of directors of Tata Sons met to appoint Mr Cyrus P Mistry as Deputy Chairman. He will work with Mr Tata over the next year and take over from him when Mr Tata retires in December 2012. This is as per the unanimous recommendation of the selection committee.


Endorsing the appointment, Mr Tata, Chairman of Tata Sons, said: “The appointment of Mr Cyrus P Mistry as Deputy Chairman of Tata Sons is a good and far-sighted choice.


“He has been on the board of Tata Sons since August 2006 and I have been impressed with the quality and calibre of his participation, his astute observations and his humility. He is intelligent and qualified to take on the responsibility being offered and I will be committed to working with him 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 my retirement.”


Mr Mistry, currently managing director, Shapoorji Pallonji Group, has been a director of Tata Sons since August 2006. He is a graduate of civil engineering from Imperial College, London, and has a master of science in management from the London Business School.


And this is what Mr Mistry said in his statement:


“I feel deeply honoured 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.


“I take this responsibility very seriously and in keeping with the values and ethics of the Tata group I will undertake to legally disassociate myself from the management of my family businesses to avoid any issue of conflict of interest.”

But who’s this mystery man?


Read on:


Profile 1:

Avid golfer & foodie, avoids cocktail circuit


By Reeba Zachariah & Namrata Singh


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 Mr Ratan Tata, Mr Cyrus Pallonji Mistry, 43, is described by close friends as soft-spoken , candid and down to earth.


Again like Mr Tata, Mr Mistry is said to love cars – especially SUVs – and steers clear of the cocktail party circuit. But unlike lifelong bachelor Tata, Mr Mistry is said to be a devoted family man. He is married to Rohiqa, daughter of renowned lawyer Iqbal Chagla, and the couple have two school-going sons. An avid golfer, mr 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 in facing 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 was created within minutes of the announcement that he had been effectively chosen chairman-in-waiting of Tata Sons. The youngest son of construction baron Mr 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.

Voracious reader with eye for detail


Mr Cyrus Mistry 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.


Although he does not have experience in heading a Tata group company , Mr Mistry, a graduate in civil engineering from London’s Imperial College, has been actively involved in the family business. His expertise includes formation of business plans, risk evaluation, business investment strategy and property and infrastructure development.


Mr Khurshed Daruvala, MD, Sterling & Wilson, in which the SP Group holds 56%, describes Mistry as a “ hands-on leader” who is strategy oriented. “ Ever since Mistry started working with this partnership firm in 2003, the turnover has jumped from Rs 50 crore to Rs 2,000 crore.”


If this is exemplary, consider what Mistry accomplished after he took charge at loss-making Afcons Infrastructure. SP Group acquired a 53.96% shareholding in Afcons in 2000. In March 2011, Afcons earned a total income of Rs 2,893 crore with a compounded annual growth rate of 21% over the past five years.


He joined the SP Group in 1991 as a director and became its MD in 1994 in charge of the construction business. His brother, Mr Shapoor Mistry, is actively involved in the real estate and textile business.


Conservative in his approach, Mr Mistry is said to have an eye for detail. “Once he takes decisions, he sticks with them,” said an insider. He can safely expect to take many crucial decisions in the years to come.



What Titans Of India Inc Have To Say


It is a historic and great moment


-Krishna Kumar, director, Tata Sons


A young leader means long-term stability for the Tata group


-A M Naik, CMD, L&T


There is strong chemistry between Mistry and Ratan Tata. He is very thorough and has good financial insight


-J J Irani, former director, Tata Sons


Good sign to have a young chairman -Ajay Piramal, chairman, Piramal group Cyrus symbolizes continuity, yet change


-Harsh Goenka, chairman, RPG


He’s mature beyond his years


-Zia Mody, senior partner, AZB Partners


Source:The Economic Times

Copyright © 2011, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved



And here’s a little more…


Profile 2:

Cyrus Mistry:  Tata Sons’ deputy chairman a reticent man with strategic vision, humility


When senior advocate Mr Iqbal Chagla met Mr Cyrus P Mistry for the first time, he felt there was something special about the man. “He struck me as a young man who will make it big one day,” says Mr Chagla.


Mr Chagla had good reason to ponder over Mistry’s future prosperity – the younger son of construction tycoon Mr Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry was keen to marry his daughter Rohika.


On Wednesday, Mr Chagla’s prediction for his son-in-law couldn’t have come true in grander style. In the early evening, Mr Ratan Tata sent out an email to the top five-six executives of all Tata Group companies, informing them that Mr Cyrus P Mistry would succeed him as chairman after December 2012. In his message, the 74-year-old chairman hoped the Tata brass would lend the same support to Mistry as it did to him.


Not all may choose to do so, but Mr Ratan Tata for his part surely will. Top officials in the group who have worked closely with Mr Mistry say he gets along famously with the Tata Group chairman and is very similar to Tata in nature and attitude.


Cyrus was Ratan Tata’s First Choice


They add that Cyrus was the chairman’s first choice right from the time the hunt began for a successor. But Mr Tata was also keen to follow a systematic process of selection, involving shortlisting of candidates – both external and internal.


So who exactly is Mr Cyrus Mistry, and what makes him the best man to head the sprawling Tata empire? He’s low-profile, reticent and conservative, qualities he has inherited from his father. After graduating in engineering from Imperial College London, Cyrus plunged into the family-owned construction business.


His father gave him a clear mandate: grow the engineering, procurement and construction activities. Cyrus focused on the Middle East and grew the business in Oman and the region.


Cyrus’ big break came when the group acquired construction company Afcons Infrastructure Ltd, which undertakes large infrastructure projects in India and abroad.


The company was acquired at a time India was witnessing a construction boom. As chairman of Afcons, Cyrus oversaw many important projects. The company was involved in the construction of Delhi Metro, and Cyrus often flew to the capital to supervise the work.


Those who have worked with him say Cyrus possesses a near-perfect blend of hands-on involvement and the ability to give long-term strategic direction. “He has excellent leadership qualities, can think on his feet and combines all this with humility,” says former Unilever honcho Mr Keki Dadiseth, who was at one time believed to be in the reckoning to succeed Mr Tata. Another executive who has worked closely with Cyrus says he has the ability to operate both “as a telescope and a microscope”.


Among those backing Tata’s choice is Mr Darius Pandole, who remembers Cyrus since their days in the Cathedral & John Connon School in Mumbai. “Cyrus’ is an inspired choice; he will provide long-term stability to the group,” says Mr Pandole, a partner in New Silk Route, a private equity investor. Cyrus is just 43, and even if the retirement age of chairmen in future is brought down to 65, he will still have a good two decades at the helm.


Yet, there are those who point out that Cyrus has succeeded Tata purely on the strength of his father’s 18.5% holding in Tata Sons, which makes the senior Mistry the single largest shareholder in the holding company of the Tata Group. Others feel Cyrus lacks global exposure and may not be able to tackle the complexities of a diverse business house like the Tatas. But Pandole retorts: “People raised eyebrows when Mr Ratan Tata succeeded JRD. Look at what he’s achieved.”


Meantime, officials at some of the front line Tata companies are baffled by the sudden announcement. Most have little or no exposure to Cyrus. A senior official in the group said on the condition of anonymity that the Tata Group will now be known more as Shapoorji Pallonji Group. “The Mistrys are known more as sharpshooters, which is in sharp contrast to the Tatas’ trusted brand image,” adds another old hand at a Tata company.



Source:The Economic Times

Copyright © 2011, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved


Profile 3:

Profile of Mr Cyrus P Mistry from the Tata corporate site:


“Mr Cyrus P Mistry, 43, joined the board of Shapoorji  Pallonji & Co. as director in 1991 and was appointed managing director of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group in 1994.  He is a graduate of civil engineering from the Imperial College, London (1990) and has an M.Sc. in management from the London Business School (1997).


Under Mr Mistry’s guidance, Shapoorji Pallonji’s  construction business has grown from a turnover of $20 million  to approximately $1.5 billion. The group’s companies have evolved from pure construction to executing projects under design and build and EPC delivery methodologies, implementing complex projects in the marine, oil and gas, and rail sectors. Under Mr Mistry’s stewardship, the group has registered many firsts in India — construction of the tallest residential towers, the longest rail bridge, the largest dry dock and the largest affordable housing project.  The group’s international construction business now extends to over 10 countries.


Mr Mistry is responsible for launching the infrastructure development vertical in the Shapoorji  Pallonji Group in 1995 with a 106 MW power project in Tamil Nadu, followed by the development of India’s largest biotech park near Hyderabad in partnership with the Andhra Pradesh government. The infrastructure vertical has also developed two large road projects totalling an investment of USD 550 million.


The Shapoorji Pallonji Group’s recent foray into agriculture and biofuels, with the leasing of 50,000 hectares in Ethiopia, was also overseen by Mr Mistry.


Mr Mistry joined the board of Tata Sons in 2006. He has been a director of Tata Power and Tata Elxsi in the past.


He is also on the board of the Construction Federation of India, the Imperial College Advisory Board, the board of governors of the National Institute of Construction Management and Research (NICMAR), and is a fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers. ”



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