ibnlive » Business

Dec 28, 2012 at 01:59pm IST

As Ratan Tata retires, Cyrus Mistry has big shoes to fill

Mumbai: Cyrus Mistry will have pretty big shoes to fill as Ratan Tata retires as the Chairman of the Tata Group. But he has not come out of nowhere. His family firm owns 18 per cent of Tata Sons, the largest shareholder after the Tata Trusts.

Cyrus Mistry's appointment as the Tata Group chairman marks the return of the owner-promoter at Tata Group. Mistry's family firm Shapoorji Pallonji owns 18 per cent of Tata Sons, the group holding company, and is the largest shareholder after the Tata Trusts. He is also the brother-in-law of Noel Tata, Ratan Tata's half brother. At 43, Mistry is 11 years younger than Ratan was when he took over.

WMG Chairman and Founder Kumar Bhattacharyya said, "As far as Cyrus is concerned, I will tell you, time will tell that he has a mind, very incisive mind, he also has the true grit and determination and at the same time he is...we never even thought of him as an owner manager, we considered him entirely on his talents and his ability to run big conglomerates like Tata."

On the Tata Sons board Cyrus Mistry has Tata veterans for company - RK Krishna Kumar, R Gopalkrishnan, Farokh Kavarana and Arun Gandhi. Their individual careers span more than Mistry's age. But on the other hand, leaders of group companies lower the demographic - N Chandra, R Mukundan, Karl Slym, Harish Bhat.

Nirmalya Kumar, Professor - Marketing, London Business School, said, "For the incoming leader the challenge is always when you were following a transformational leader who is seen as the face of the Tata Group, who is seen as the face of Indian business overseas and you are the next person in charge, how do you put your own personal stamp on it. What is it that you do to show people that you are in charge because the others don't accept you right away as the person in charge even though you have the title."

In Cyrus Mistry's 17 years as managing director, Shapoorji Pallonji's construction business grew from a turnover of $ 20 million to approximately $ 1.5 billion. Today, Mistry takes charge of a group with over 90 companies and a total revenue of $ 100 billion. He's had one year to prepare for the marathon of his life.