Tata's 'choice' preserves Parsi tradition
Mistry's selection as chairman-designate of India's biggest corporate house keeps the group close to the founding Tata family as he is a member through the marriage of his sister. The choice also keeps the business in the hands of the close-knit community which is as old as the city itself.
From shipyards to textile firms, Mumbai's Parsis, descendants of Persians who first landed in India in the ninth century, led the city's commercial development from sleepy fishing islands to one of Asia's business capitals.
Big business houses led by the Tata, Godrej and Wadia families keep that tradition alive today.
"Tata is a Parsi business, and so it is important that someone who grasps the culture of the group is at the top," said Zubin Karkaria, a Parsi and chief executive officer and managing director of international visa administration firm VFS Global.
Bombay House, the brick colonial building in the heart of south Mumbai where Mistry, 43, will take the reins of the $83 billion Tata empire next December, is the seat of power for a community Parsis say is inseparable from the city's history.
Mistry is the youngest son of construction magnate Pallonji Mistry, known as "the world's richest Parsi" with estimated wealth of $8.8 billion, according to Forbes.
Octogenarian Pallonji and the 73-year-old Ratan Tata