Cyrus Mistry death: Former chairman of India’s Tata group dies in car accident

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The former chairman of one of India’s biggest conglomerates Tata Sons, who was ousted in a high-profile boardroom coup, died on Sunday in a car crash.

Cyrus Mistry, an Indian-born Irish businessman, succeeded one of south Asia’s richest men — Ratan Tata — as the chairman of the most vaunted industrial group. The first non-Tata chairperson of the group was ousted after four years on the job following a major controversy.

Mistry died in an accident in Maharashtra’s Palghar district, around 100km from Mumbai, the state police said on Sunday.

“The accident took place around 3.15pm, when Mistry was travelling to Mumbai from Ahmedabad. The accident took place on a bridge over the Surya river. It seems an accident,” Indian news agency PTI quoted a police official as saying.

The businessman was travelling from Ahmedabad to Mumbai in a Mercedes car, the police added.

Two other persons travelling with him, including the car driver, were injured. All the injured persons have been shifted to a nearby hospital in Gujarat state.

Indian business leaders and politicians expressed shock at the sudden passing of Mistry.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote: “The untimely demise of Shri Cyrus Mistry is shocking. He was a promising business leader who believed in India’s economic prowess. His passing away is a big loss to the world of commerce and industry.”

“Saddened by the tragic news of the demise of former chairman of Tata Sons, Cyrus Mistry. He was amongst the brightest business minds of the country, who made a significant contribution to India’s growth story,” wrote opposition leader Rahul Gandhi.

Mistry was ousted as chairman of Tata Sons in a boardroom coup in October 2016 after the company criticised his performance. His ouster was controversial for several reasons and made headlines as one of the biggest corporate governance crises in the country.

The issue reached India’s Supreme court after a petition was filed by Mistry against Tata Sons and Mr Tata, alleging that his sacking as the Chairman of Tata Group was “illegal”.

The events following the removal of Mistry by the $100bn salt-to-software conglomerate went down as one of the ugliest public spats in the history of boardroom wars in India.