Former Chairman of Tata Sons Cyrus Mistry dies as car hits divider at Palghar | The Financial Express

Former Chairman of Tata Sons Cyrus Mistry dies as car hits divider at Palghar

Cyrus Mistry, 54, former chairman of Tata Sons, was killed in a road accident on Sunday in Palghar district, Maharashtra

Former Chairman of Tata Sons Cyrus Mistry dies as car hits divider at Palghar
Cyrus Mistry was travelling with three others in a car, which hit a divider (Image: IE)

Cyrus P Mistry, 54, former chairman of Tata Sons, was killed in a road accident on Sunday in Palghar district, Maharashtra. The accident took place at around 3.15 pm when the 2018 Mercedes Benz GLC, in which he was travelling with three others, hit a divider.

Police said the other persons in the car were renowned Mumbai gynaecologist Dr Anahita Pandole and her husband Darius Pandole, who are undergoing treatment at a hospital at Vapi and were reported to be out of danger. However, Darius’ brother Jehangir Pandole, the third occupant in the car, died in the accident that took place on a bridge on the Surya river.

Dr Pandole is believed to have been behind the wheel. They had visited the Iranshah Atash Behram at Udvada in the morning.

“The accident took place around 3.15 pm, when Mistry was travelling to Mumbai from Ahmedabad. It seems to be an accident,” news agency PTI quoted a police officer as saying.

Mistry, who became chairman of Tata Sons in December 2012, following Ratan Tata’s retirement, was ousted from the post in October 2016 when the board voted to remove him.

Rich tributes poured in from top leaders in government and corporate India.

Mistry had a passion for life, N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, said, adding it was really tragic that he passed away at such a young age.

Harsh Goenka, chairman, RPG Enterprises, described Mistry as a gentleman and a man of substance. “He was instrumental in creating the global construction giant Shapoorji Pallonji and ably led the Tata group,” Goenka tweeted.

Mistry, the younger son of Pallonji Mistry, had joined the board of Tata Sons about a decade earlier in September 2006, a year after his father retired from it. The Shapoorji Pallonji Group was the biggest stakeholder in Tata Sons, owning a stake of 18.4% and Mistry was the second person from outside the Tata family to head the group.

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Known to be a soft-spoken person, he took over the reins at a time when the Tata Group was going through a rough patch. The financials of many of the companies were not in good shape, weighed down by costly acquisitions and over-leveraged balance sheets. He initiated a major clean-up operation, writing down the value of some of the $15.5 billion worth of assets that had been bought. He started the process early on in his tenure, reducing the value of the overseas assets by close to `10,000 crore or about $1.5 billion.

The financial condition of steelmaker Corus was especially precarious following a slowdown in Europe. Other companies such as Indian Hotels, too, were in trouble after the global slowdown hurt the businesses of some overseas properties. Analysts likened the impairment charges to “spring cleaning” saying they were in line with good accounting practices was a good move to value assets correctly. Under Mistry’s watch, the Tata Group, which started the country’s first airline, made its second foray into aviation, partnering AirAsia Bhd and Singapore Airlines. Moreover, three companies in the digital space – Tata CLiQ, Tata iQ and Tata Digital Health – were incubated.

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He had once said in an interview that it was crucial the Tata Group does not look at capex in isolation from the investment in talent, brands and technology. “These will be the true differentiators in the future,” Mistry had said.

Differences between Ratan Tata and Mistry on various issues, including the handling of the dispute with NTT DoCoMo, are believed to have caused a rift between them, leading to the removal of Mistry as chairman of Tata Sons. Mistry was removed from the chairmanship of other Tata Group companies as well. Several independent directors on the boards of these companies spoke up in support of him, commending his work. However, an acrimonius legal battle followed with both camps trading allegations. At one stage, the National Company Law Tribunal reinstated Mistry as chairman of Tata Sons. But the Supreme court subsequently overruled the decision.

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