The Business On... Cyrus Mistry, chairman designate, Tata

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The Independent Online

Isn't he a bit of a mystery?

I like the play on words but you are sort of right, as Cyrus Mistry's father, Pallonji, is a famously reclusive construction tycoon and he hasn't exactly hogged the limelight either. But we are likely to see and hear a lot more about him from now on.

Why's that?

Well, Cyrus Mistry was named as the next head of Tata, India's huge conglomerate that sprang to prominence in the UK with its acquisitions of the steel maker Corus, Jaguar Land Rover and tea group Tetley. Tata now accounts for nearly 7 per cent of India's GDP, and is the largest manufacturer in the UK.

What are his credentials?

The 43-year-old is currently the managing director of his family's construction group, Shapoorji Pallonji. The Mistry family is India's seventh-richest, with a fortune estimated at $7.6bn, according to Forbes, and have had a stake in Tata since the 1930s.

But haven't the Tata family always headed this group?

His appointment did take many by surprise, as Mr Tata's younger half-brother Noel was viewed as a front-runner. But Cyrus's family are the largest external shareholders in the group. And Cyrus knows the Tatas very well, as Noel is married to his sister,Aloo Mistry.

Sounds like Dynasty

That's harsh, but Cyrus is certainly familiar with life in the West. His father actually ranks as the richest billionaire in Ireland – he took Irish nationality in 2003 on the basis that his wife was born in Dublin – though he is resident in India. Cyrus took a civil engineering degree at London's Imperial College and also holds a Master of Science in management from London Business School.