Cyrus Mistry emerged as the only consensus choice as Tata Group’s search for a successor entered the final lap. He has the backing of current chairman Ratan Tata and Pallonji Mistry.
The 82-year-old tycoon, the largest individual shareholder in Tata Sons, made a strong pitch for an insider to be the next chairman. Ratan Tata is said to have favored Cyrus Mistry who is credited with scaling up and diversifying Shapoorji Pallonji Group, one of India’s most valuable private enterprises.
Pallonji Mistry, often referred to as the Phantom of Bombay House , is believed to have spoken forcefully even as the search committee began interviewing candidates from outside the group.
Several factors are said to have worked in Cyrus Mistry’s favour: (1) his age; the fact that his family holds the largest single equity block of 18.4% (outside of the Trusts) in Tata Sons; (2) the tradition of every chairman of the group so far being a Parsi; his chemistry with Ratan Tata; his understated style; strong operational experience combined with financial acumen; and (3) his Indian-cum-international outlook.