Cyrus Mistry, a top business scion in India, dies in car crash at 54

Cyrus Mistry, scion of one of India’s most illustrious business families and who also formerly headed the nation’s biggest business group, died in a road accident near Mumbai. He was 54.

The car Mistry was in hit a divider on a bridge in Palghar at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday, local police confirmed. Mistry and another passenger were killed, while two others injured have been shifted to hospital, assistant police inspector Balasaheb Yamgar said by phone.

The news is the latest blow for the Mistry family, whose patriarch Pallonji Mistry—Cyrus’s father—died in June at the age of 93. Their Shapoorji Pallonji Group was founded in 1865 and built luxury hotels, stadiums, palaces and factories across Asia, including the tower wing of the iconic Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. But the Mistrys were most recently known for a feud with the Tata Group.

Pallonji Mistry had accumulated a net worth of almost $29 billion at the time of his death, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making him one of the richest men in India. Most of the family wealth, however, derived from being the largest minority shareholder—18.5% as of early 2022—in Mumbai-based Tata Sons Pvt., the main investment holding company for India’s largest conglomerate.

Cyrus Mistry was named chairman of Tata Sons in 2012, becoming only the second top official not to bear the Tata family name. His shock ouster in 2016 triggered a very public, years-long courtroom and boardroom battle between two of India’s most storied corporate clans.

The country’s top court ruled in 2021 that Cyrus’s ouster was legal and also upheld Tata Sons’s rules on minority shareholder rights, which made it difficult to sell shares without board approval. That meant the stake, worth almost $30 billion in early 2022, was basically illiquid. 

Cyrus’s older brother, Shapoor Mistry, is chairman of the SP Group. The siblings in 2018 set up venture capital firm Mistry Ventures LLP. 

Cyrus Mistry is survived by his wife Rohiqa and their two sons.

—With assistance by Ashutosh Joshi

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