Cyrus Mistry
Cyrus Mistry Tata

Tata Sons Ltd, the $77.4 billion group, has announced that board member Cyrus P Mistry will succeed Ratan Tata as Chairman. In August 2010, the group formed a selection committee that included Cyrus to look for Ratan Tata's successor.

Mistry, 43, is the younger son of billionaire construction magnate Pallonji Mistry, an Irish citizen, whose 18.4% stake in Tata Sons makes him its biggest shareholder. Pallonji Mistry is often referred to as the Phantom of Bombay House for his low-profile involvement in the affairs of Tata Group.

Cyrus Mistry has little public interaction and maintains a low profile like his billionaire father whose wealth, according to Forbes, has been estimated at $ 8.8 billion.

Cyrus will assume the role of deputy chairman and take over as head of the group in December 2012, according to an emailed statement from the company Wednesday.

Mistry is an engineer from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London. He did his masters in management from the London Business School. He began working for the company Shapoorji Pallonji & Co., controlled by his father Shapoorji Pallonji Mistry, in 1991.

Mistry's sister Aloo is married to Noel Tata who is the step-brother of Ratan Tata.

I feel deeply honored by this appointment. I am aware that an enormous responsibility, with a great legacy, has been entrusted to me. I look forward to Mr Tata's guidance in the year ahead in meeting the expectations of the group, Cyrus Mistry said soon after his appointment.

I take this responsibility very seriously and in keeping with the values and ethics of the Tata group, I will undertake to legally disassociate myself from the management of my family businesses to avoid any issue of conflict of interest, he added.

The appointment of Cyrus P Mistry as deputy chairman of Tata Sons is a good and far-sighted choice. I have been impressed with the quality and calibre of his participation, his astute observations and his humility, said Ratan Tata while endorsing the appointment.

Ratan had led the group to an ambitious expansion drive by acquiring marquee brands such as Tetley Tea, Corus steel, Jaguar and Land Rover to establish its global footprint. It developed and launched the $2,000 Nano, touted as the world's cheapest car. The Tata group has over 100 operating companies and has operations in more than 80 countries. Over 58 percent of its revenues come from businesses outside India.

It is expected that Mistry with his strong operational experience combined with financial acumen will be able to fulfill the responsibility entrusted to him.