Bombay House, headquarters of the Tata Group, braced for a change of guard at the top with its chairman of 21 years, Ratan Tata, retiring on his 75th birthday to make way for his appointed successor, Cyrus Mistry.
From Saturday, when 44-year-old Mr. Mistry takes over, Mr. Tata will be Chairman `Emeritus' of the Tata Group.
Even as Mr. Mistry entered Bombay House on Friday morning amid a huge media presence, Mr. Tata was on a visit to Pune, Tata Group sources said.
In spite of all the hype surrounding the change in leadershipit was a change devoid of any ceremony, speech or event - typifying Mr Tata's style. He has remained low-key, media-shy and unassuming throughout his illustrious tenure.
Mr. Mistry is the sixth chairman of the 144-year old Tata Group and has worked with the Tata group since 2006. Though not directly related to Mr. Tata, Mr. Mistry's sister is married to Mr. Tata's younger half-brother, Noel Tata, who initially was tipped to take over from Mr. Tata.
Mr. Mistry is the son of Pallonji Mistry, who owns construction firm Shapoorji Pallonji, and is the largest individual shareholder in Tata Group holding company, Tata Sons, with an 18.4 per cent stake.
Born on July 4, 1968, Cyrus Mistry is a civil engineering graduate from Imperial College London and has a Master's degree in Management from the London Business School.
He is credited with growing Shapoorji Pallonji by over seven times since he took over as Managing Director in 1994 to a $ 1.5 billion organization. Under him, it has evolved from a pure construction company to one implements projects in the marine, oil & gas and rail sectors.
Since last year's announcement of the decision by the Tata Sons board to appoint Mr. Mistry as the new chairman, he has accompanied Mr. Ratan Tata on visits to group offices and factories in India and overseas, besides several annual general meetings (AGMs) of the group, this year.
Mr. Mistry will be ably supported by a relatively young senior management at most group companies, who have recently assumed top positions. These include N.Chandrasekaran, MD & CEO of Tata Consultancy Services, Harish Bhat, MD & CEO, Tata Global Beverages, Karl-Ulrich Kohler, MD, Tata Steel Europe, Karl Slym, MD, Tata Motors, Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover and R. Mukundan, MD, Tata Chemicals among others. Mr. Mistry will have his work cut out, when he takes over from Saturday, as Mr. Tata's reign will indeed be a hard act to follow.