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The phantom of Bombay House has passed on. The Tata question remains in search of a resolution

Pallonji took over the reins of the SP group in 1975 after his father’s passing and shepherded the group’s foray into West Asia, showcasing its abilities by building the Sultan's palace in Muscat.

By: Editorial |
Updated: June 29, 2022 8:25:27 am
In May this year, the Supreme Court dismissed the SP Group’s petition that sought a review of the verdict that upheld the removal of Cyrus Mistry as head of Tata Sons.

Billionaire industrialist and chairman of the Shapoorji Pallonji group, Pallonji Mistry, who died on Tuesday in Mumbai at 93, was nicknamed the “Phantom of Bombay House”. His presence was felt in the Tata Group’s head-offices even though he was rarely heard or seen — the family holds a 18.4 per cent stake in Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group. Pallonji took over the reins of the SP group in 1975 after his father’s passing and shepherded the group’s foray into West Asia, showcasing its abilities by building the Sultan’s palace in Muscat. This also served as a launchpad for the group’s successful operations in the wider region.

The SP group, founded in 1865, operates across several verticals but it is widely known for having constructed some of Mumbai’s most iconic landmarks, among which are the headquarters of the Reserve Bank of India, the buildings of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank and the Standard Chartered Bank, and the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. The family which has tended to avoid the spotlight — incidentally, it produced Mughal-e-Azam, one of the biggest blockbusters in Hindi cinema — was thrust into the public eye following the high-profile clash between Pallonji’s son Cyrus Mistry and Ratan Tata. Cyrus had been appointed as chairman of Tata Sons in 2012. But after a falling out with Tata, he was forced out of the group in 2016 in one of the most high-profile corporate battles in recent times. In May this year, the Supreme Court dismissed the SP Group’s petition that sought a review of the verdict that upheld the removal of Cyrus Mistry as head of Tata Sons.

Despite his immense wealth and influence, Pallonji was an intensely private man who kept a low profile. His death comes at a time when the group has been attempting to firm up its financial position by paring down its debt burden.

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First published on: 29-06-2022 at 04:45:33 am
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