Former Tata Sons CEO Cyrus Mistry dies in a road accident in India

The former head of the Indian conglomerate Tata Sons, Cyrus Mistry, in Mumbai on June 27, 2014. He died in a road accident on September 4, at the age of 54.© Stringer India/Reuters

Indian police said Cyrus Mistry, 54, the former head of India’s Tata Sons group, died in a road accident near the financial capital Mumbai on Sunday.

Mr Mistry was ousted as chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company for the US$300 billion conglomerate Tata, in a boardroom coup in 2016, sparking a long-running legal debate over India’s eventual Supreme Court. Ruling in favor of Tata Group.

The accident occurred in the city of Palghar, about 100 km north of Mumbai, on Sunday afternoon. The chief police officer of Balgar district said Mr Mistry was traveling to Mumbai from Gujarat with three others.

A senior Mumbai police official said the car in which Mr Mistry was traveling hit a barrier, and he died at the scene.

Several prominent politicians and industrialists have tweeted their condolences following news of Mr. Misteri’s death. Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Mr Mistry’s death as coming early and shocking.

He was a promising commercial leader who believed in India’s economic ingenuity. His death is a great loss to the world of commerce and industry,” Mr Modi tweeted.

Mr Mistry’s family and Tata’s children did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tata Consulting Services, in which Tata Sons is a majority stake, said it mourned the early death of its former chairman, adding that the company offered its “deepest condolences and prayers” to his family and friends.

“He was a kind, friendly and loyal person who built a strong relationship with the TCS family during his tenure at the helm of the company,” TCS said in a statement.

Mr Mistry was the sixth chairman of the Tata Group, a conglomerate that started over 150 years ago, and the second is not Tata. He was Noel Tata’s brother-in-law, half-brother of Mr. Mistry’s predecessor as chief, Ratan Tata.

Mr. Mistry’s grandfather first bought shares in Tata Sons in the 1930s. The Shapoorji Pallonji Group, founded by Mr Mistry’s father, currently owns approximately 18 percent of the shares, making it the largest single shareholder in a company mostly controlled by trusts.

The decades-old relationship between SP Group, one of the country’s largest construction companies, and Tata Group soured after his dismissal, and since then SP Group has been seeking to “separate its interests” from Tata Sons.

Fund managers who spoke to Reuters at the time of Mr Mistry’s appointment described him as little known in business circles.

After graduating in Civil Engineering from Imperial College London and in Management from London Business School, Mr. Mistry described himself as a voracious reader of business books and a golfer, and shared his family’s love of horses.

SP Group did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment on Mr Mistry’s death.

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