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Cyrus Mistry, Who Once Led India’s Biggest Company, Dies at 54


An Indian-born Irish businessman who once led India’s biggest conglomerate but was unceremoniously faraway from his job died in a automobile accident within the western Indian state of Maharashtra on Sunday. He was 54.

The businessman, Cyrus Mistry, was traveling with three others when their Mercedes-Benz hit the railing of a bridge on a busy highway about 60 miles north of Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra. Each Mr. Mistry and a friend, Jehangir Pandole, whose family owned a big brand of sentimental drinks before selling it to PepsiCo, died on the spot, the police said.

Mr. Mistry and Mr. Pandole had each lost their fathers recently, and so they were traveling toward Mumbai after offering prayers on the Iranshah fire temple in Udvada, a tiny village in Gujarat. Mr. Mistry’s family, who’re a part of the tiny and vibrant Parsi community in Mumbai, funded the restoration of the temple there.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Mr. Mistry’s death a shock. “He was a promising business leader who believed within the country’s economic prowess,” Mr. Modi said in a tweet. “His passing away is a giant loss to the world of commerce and industry.”

In 2012, Mr. Mistry was named the chairman of the Tata Group, a powerhouse conglomerate that makes Land Rovers, operates the historic Pierre Hotel in Recent York and sells the world Tetley tea. He was the primary non-Tata member of the family to steer the nearly 154-year-old company, which also has consultancy, steel, chemicals and electric power businesses, amongst others.

He was removed as chairman by the board of directors in 2016 and replaced by the previous chairman, Ratan Tata. That ultimately opened the best way for the primary non-Parsi chairman of the corporate, Natarajan Chandrasekaran.

The explanations for Mr. Mistry’s ouster are still not clear. He challenged the choice before two Indian tribunals. One dismissed his petition, saying that the board and majority shareholders had lost confidence in him. India’s top court upheld the dismissal.

Mr. Mistry had been on Tata’s board since 2006, and his family’s large construction business — which he once served as director — was the most important shareholder within the Tata Group, at 18 percent.

His family’s business, Shapoorji Pallonji Group, built luxury hotels and factories across Asia and went on to found large financial firms. Mr. Mistry’s father, Pallonji Mistry, who died in June at age 93, had a net value of virtually $29 billion, in accordance with the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, putting him amongst India’s richest men.

Cyrus Mistry’s death in a automobile accident lower than three months later adds to a grisly toll on Indian roads. The country has about 1 percent of the world’s vehicles but 11 percent of world deaths from road accidents, in accordance with a report by the World Bank released in 2020. About 450,000 accidents happen annually, killing 150,000 people.

Lately, the standard of roads has improved as the federal government has worked to attach vast rural parts of the country with its metropolises. But with more roads has come more accidents.

In accordance with a preliminary investigation by the police within the Palghar district, each Mr. Mistry and Mr. Pandole appeared to not have been wearing a seatbelt. Mr. Pandole’s brother and his wife, who was driving, suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries, in accordance with Prakash Gaekwad, a police officer in Palghar.

Mr. Chandrasekaran, the Tata chairman, said in a press release that he was mourning Mr. Mistry’s death. “He had a passion for all times, and it is de facto tragic that he passed away at such a young age,” Mr. Chandrasekaran said.

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