Cyrus Mistry, who died in a car crash on Sunday, was cremated today in Mumbai. Industrialists, politicians and members of the Parsi community attended the funeral, besides the family.
The 54-year-old former Tata Sons chairman’s death in an accident on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai highway has shocked corporate India.
In an exclusive interview, Mukund Rajan, who was Brand Manager for the Tatas under Cyrus Mistry, said there was much bitterness between Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry till the end and they could never reconcile.
”Mr. Tata was extremely hurt by many of the allegations which were levelled in the media and otherwise in some of the filings in court. Obviously, there was huge bitterness between the two individuals. But one would have hoped that now — there is obviously no reconciliation that is ever going to be possible — people need to put the past behind and just look ahead. I think both individuals wanted the best for the Tatas. And I think that it is owed to the Indian public that the memory of what Cyrus stood for continues to inform a lot of what the Tata group strives to achieve in the years ahead,” Mr Rajan said.
Cyrus Mistry was deeply unhappy with the way his ties with his mentor soured, according to Mr Rajan.
Ratan Tata, 84, took Cyrus Mistry under his wing but they ended up on opposite sides in an unseemly legal battle in the Supreme Court after Cyrus Mistry’s abrupt sacking in a boardroom coup.
“He (Cyrus Mistry) did believe that perhaps people had played a mischievous role in communicating what he stood for and the kind of future he wanted to create for the Tatas. He felt that Ratan Tata had perhaps been misinformed on multiple occasions,” Mr Rajan shared.
He described Cyrus Mistry as someone who always had the best interests of the group at heart, who wanted to give credit where it is due and who never tried to take credit for himself.
“He was astounded by suggestions that perhaps people in Tatas’ close group felt he was trying to take the group in a different direction, take credit for himself and change the values of the group in the manner that Mr Tata would not have approved of. And I think that started a set of issues that eventually led to his separation from the group and the lengthy court cases.”
Mr Rajan said even the court cases tell a story.
Mr Mistry was very keen to clear his name and demonstrate that whatever he did was for the Tatas.
“At the end, he was fighting to establish that he had a point of view that couldn’t be ignored,” said Mr Rajan.
The legal battle, he suggested, was more about protecting his honour.
Mr Mistry, he said, was “very similar” to Ratan Tata in many ways – both were fantastic with numbers and both had incredible financial acumen.
Cyrus Mistry was named chairman of Tata Sons in 2012. His shock ouster in 2016 triggered a long courtroom and boardroom battle between two of India’s top corporate clans.
The Supreme Court ruled last year that Mr Mistry’s sacking was legal.