A quiet billionaire


Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, 82, is the world’s most reclusive billionaire. For a man with an estimated wealth of almost $10 billion (Rs 55,000 crore), he is surprisingly invisible, rarely seen or heard in the public space. One of India’s most successful and powerful businessmen, he controls a construction empire that operates across India, West Asia and Africa. He, along with his sons, also controls an 18.5 per cent stake in Tata Sons, the holding company of the $100 billion (Rs 550,000 crore) Tata Group, making the Mistrys the largest individual shareholders in India’s most diversified business conglomerate. He is called, with a mixture of awe and curiosity, the Phantom at Bombay House, the headquarters of the Tata Group, in Mumbai. His younger son, Cyrus Mistry, 43, will control the group when Chairman Ratan Tata exits in December.

Construction magnate Pallonji is an Irish citizen, by virtue of marriage to an Irish woman, but he lives mostly in India, in his sea-facing Walkeshwar bungalow in Mumbai. In 2012, Forbes estimated his wealth to be $9.7 billion (Rs 53,350 crore), making him the wealthiest person of Parsi descent as well as the richest Irishman in the world. Much of that wealth comes from his shareholding in the Tata Group, says Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group of Companies. Deepak Parekh, chairman of HDFC, recalls how the Mistrys first acquired shares in the Tata Group. “Pallonji’s father built factories for Tata Motors and Tata Steel. The Tatas had no money to pay for them so they gave him shares instead,” he says. Pallonji slowly consolidated his family’s shareholding in subsequent years by buying out shares of Tata family members who wanted to exit the business.

For those close to him, Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry is not elusive. “To me, he is very approachable. I could reach him any time, either on phone or I could just walk into his home or office, that too without prior notice, and he has always received me with warmth. He is very nice, very friendly and also helpful,” says eminent architect Hafeez Contractor, who has been associated with Pallonji since 1968. But Contractor is one of a fortunate few. Until recently, Pallonji was chairman of the $2.5-billion (Rs 13,750 crore) Shapoorji Pallonji Group (SPG); he handed the reins of his empire to his eldest son, Shapoor, 48, earlier this year. The group is involved in businesses from textiles to real estate, hospitality to business automation. The companies under SPG fold include Shapoorji Pallonji Engineering and Construction, Afcons Infrastructure, Forbes Textiles, Gokak Textiles, Eureka Forbes, Forbes and Co, SP Construction Materials Group, SP Real Estate and Next Gen among others. Pallonji was also the former chairman of Associated Cement Companies, now ACC Ltd, from September 24, 1977, to July 26, 1979, and later from September 4, 1997, to April 26, 2000, and had chaired the company’s annual general meetings (AGMs). Such AGMs are among his rare appearances in public. Ashalata Maheshwari, an investor with shareholding in about 1,000 companies, including ACC and Tata Group firms, says: “I interacted with him at meetings of Associated Cement Companies, but that was a long time ago. I don’t think I had ever sought a meeting with him.”

Pallonji has an eye for detail and is a perfectionist to the core. He strives for perfection, even if that means costs ex-ceeding budget allocations. Contractor, who is currently doing eight projects for the group, says Pallonji has a simple philosophy: “‘We should ensure that this is the best, because both our names are associated with it.’ That’s his standard statement before we start work on a project.” Contractor has collaborated with SPG on several projects: The Sarala Birla Academy, a boarding school for boys, in Bangalore; a township project called ‘Empress City’ in Nagpur and the 60-storeyed Imperial Towers in Mumbai, India’s tallest skyscraper.

SPG has built some of India’s most iconic buildings-The Taj Mahal Palace and Towers and The Oberoi Hotel, both of which were attacked by terrorists in 2008 (26/11), the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, Brabourne Stadium, the World Trade Centre in Mumbai, as well as the Sultan’s palace in Oman and the president’s palace in Ghana.

And now it seems there will be a change of guard. Murmurs of a new order grew louder after Pallonji relinquished board positions at some of the companies early in 2012. Citing old age and health issues, the 82-yearold stepped down from boards of Forbes & Company and Afcons Infrastructure in March. Earlier, he had resigned as chairman of United Motors (India), a company promoted by the group. In early June, he officially bequeathed the chairman’s title of flagship SPG to eldest son Shapoor. There was no pomp, no ceremony, and the media got wind of the news only a month later. Shapoor’s crowning came almost six months after younger brother Cyrus was appointed the deputy chairman and chairmandesignate of Tata Sons.

Pallonji now dons the mantle of chairman emeritus and continues to advise the group. “Pallonji has instilled his unshakeable values in his two sons, who have carried the baton forward,” says HDFC’s Parekh. When Shapoor was appointed SPG chairman, Cyrus reportedly told him that the future of his children was in his hands.

Shapoor’s quiet appointment was very much in line with Cyrus’s appointment as the successor to Ratan Tata in November 2011, which the media got to know about only when a formal statement was issued by the Tata Group. The group, which gets twothirds of its $83 billion (Rs 456,500 crore) in revenue from overseas operations, had named Cyrus after a global hunt that ended at home. Cyrus’s sister, Aloo, is married to Ratan Tata’s halfbrother Noel, and Cyrus has been a director of Tata Sons since 2006. The future chairman’s shareholding in the Tata Group has been moved into a trust as part of an agreement between SPG and the Tata Group.

Not everyone was convinced about Cyrus’s elevation. Says Ashalata Maheshwari, “I was sceptical at first as people told me that Cyrus was just a boy, how would he run such a big empire? But then Mr Tata (Ratan Tata) also did not have much experience when he took over the reins.” The 75-year-old shareholder had earlier said she would stop attending AGMs when Ratan Tata retired. She has now changed her mind. “The family (Mistrys) is not money-minded. They are very simple. Cyrus is young and intelligent, and I think Tata saheb has taken the right decision. I will continue to attend AGMs,” she says.

There is a difference in working styles between Pallonji and his elder son Shapoor. Says a businessman who is associated with the group of the elder Mistry, “Pallonji Mistry’s policy is to solve every single problem immediately and stop it from aggravating… At the group, the contracts undertaken are executed with a personal touch, and that makes the group different.” Shapoor has a different focus. He is a ‘strategist’, says a company insider, adding that Shapoor had already begun the process of revamping the group for a global role. This would see various group firms-like Afcons Infrastructure, acquired in 2000, and Forbes India, bought in 2002, being re-branded. There will be a new logo, and the tagline will be ‘Built to Last’, say sources. “Earlier there were two managing directors looking after the entire operation. After Cyrus moved away, there is just one person, Shapoor. Things have to be brought under a single fold. Moreover, there is a move to further strengthen the group’s activities, focus on core competencies and bring in professionals from the industry,” says a senior company official. Shapoor has already roped in Jai Mavani, who was a director with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“Yes, I have joined the group as an executive director and I would be looking after mergers and acquisitions and family practice business,” Mavani confirmed, declining to provide further details. There are “strict instructions” against speaking to the media, officials at Bombay House and SPG say, declining to go on record. Pallonji Mistry, Shapoor Mistry and Cyrus Mistry did not answer detailed questionnaires sent to each of them for this story.

Very little is known about the private lives of the Mistrys. Shapoor is married to Behroze Sethna, daughter of lawyer Rusi Sethna. He is the most flamboyant member of the family and loves race horses-the family owns a huge stud farm in Pune. Cyrus is married to Rohika Chagla, daughter of lawyer Iqbal Chagla. Of the two daughters of Pallonji, Laila is married to Rustom Jehangir, and Aloo is married to Noel Tata, considered a contender for chairmanship of the Tata Group. “The family is down-toearth, and when you meet them you don’t feel that they are so rich and famous,” says Contractor.

The two sons need these simple values in abundance as they steer the fortunes of two of India’s biggest conglomerates.

– By Rajesh Kurup, with Shravya Jain.
India Today.

Originally at http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/a-quiet-billionaire-.html


BY Lydia Dishman

What does a real-life CEO have in common with the central figures of a fictitious Mafia crime family in The Godfather? According to Justin Moore, CEO and founder of Axcient, plenty.

Moore is a serial entrepreneur, early-stage advisor, and angel investor. He’s currently at the helm of Axcient, a company he founded that provides backup, business continuity, and disaster recovery services to the small and mid-sized business (SMB) market. Right now, Axcient is protecting more than 2 billion files and applications for businesses across North America.

Moore also happens to think that The Godfather is “one of the best movies ever made” and had a chance to watch it again when the film was aired extensively last week to mark the 40th anniversary of its premiere. Though a decade had passed since the last time Moore watched it, his recent viewing offered an unexpected reward. This time he found the film rife with teaching moments for CEOs running a business today.

“I certainly don’t endorse crime or violence, and I’m not suggesting business should operate like the Mafia,” explains Moore, “but there are some universal themes in the movie I can relate to as a CEO.” Moore says The Godfather offers valuable lessons in community and team building, making tough decisions, and playing to win while not neglecting friends and family.

Here are five essential leadership lessons Moore distilled for Fast Company.

1. Build a powerful community.

Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me. ~Vito Corleone

Uttered in the iconic rasp of Marlon Brando, the words of Vito Corleone illustrate how he creates a loyal community among those he has helped. Moore says, “By granting these favors and helping people with their problems, Vito Corleone is building a network of influence–relationships that may or may not deliver a specific or quantifiable return, but all which serve to strengthen his power base and which have the potential to be reciprocal in the long run.”

Moore says building strategic partnerships enables companies to work through challenging markets and fast-track overall success. “As a CEO, I see it as part of my job to be a super connector, networking with the technology and investment community without an expectation of reciprocation. Partnerships forged through time, trust, and mutual benefit–such as those Axcient has built with HP, Ingram-Micro, and a vast network of service providers and resellers–are the types of community relationships that bring about the greatest returns.”

2. Hold people accountable.

What’s the matter with you? I think your brain is going soft. ~Vito Corleone

The Godfather reminds us of the importance of being tough when necessary. “As soon as Vito Corleone allowed a few moments of weakness to be seen by his enemy, they attempted to assassinate him. And it was largely because of failures of his team,” Moore observes.

“In business, accountability isn’t achieved by a murderous rampage. But the lesson is this–to be successful in business you have to be tough, and you have to be extremely focused on hitting goals and getting results,” says Moore. That doesn’t mean patience and understanding don’t have a place, he says, but ongoing tolerance of low-performing people or products just eats away at the success of the entire company. “You are ultimately responsible for all of your employees and shareholders, and that requires tough and swift decisions.

3. Don’t get emotional.

It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business. ~Michael Corleone

“Many people don’t like to talk about the fact that in business, there are winners and losers. When Sonny Corleone reacts impulsively and emotionally, he gets taken out. In business, if you don’t take the opportunity to out-sell, out-bid, or out-market your competitor, they’ll take you out. I’m not suggesting doing anything outside the boundaries of morality or rightness–simply pointing out that when people make emotional decisions, they start making bad decisions. To lead successfully, you have to take your emotion and ego out of the equation.”

Likewise, Moore says it’s important to play to win. In business, that translates to knowing the competition and always staying at least one step ahead. “Operate your business with integrity and have respect for competition, but you also need to seize opportunities to eliminate your competition and win.”

4. Be decisive.

Moore says that he, like most people who appreciate The Godfather, watch the movie with a combination of shock and respect. “Shock because he is so ruthless that he kills his own family member, but respect for the fact that Don Corleone knows exactly what he wants, executes decisively, and commands respect through unwavering leadership.”

While you don’t have to kill anyone to prove a point, as soon as you know what choice to make, move forward. “Know who on your team is making the right choices, and trust them to take decisive action as well. Hesitation too often leads to missed opportunities.”

5. Spend time with your family.

Do you spend time with your family? Because a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man. ~Vito Corleone

Moore isn’t endorsing 1940s machismo, but he is decrying 100-hour workweeks that many entrepreneurs fall prey to in hot pursuit of the next big thing. Though he’s been dedicated like that in the past, Moore finds it’s not sustainable in the long run.

“A leader can’t be successful in creative problem-solving and making excellent decisions unless that person is connected to people and passions outside of work. I find that it’s often time with family and friends that gives me the perspective I need to build the relationships and make the decisive actions required for continued success in business,” says Moore.

Originally at http://www.fastcompany.com/1826672/an-offer-you-cant-refuse-leadership-lessons-from-the-godfather

Great Gujarat


[1] Our State of GUJARAT Situated in western India and bordering Pakistan, Gujarat is among Indias most prosperous states.

[2] Its per capita GDP is 2.4 times the Indian average.

Gujarati’s GDP growth rate is 10.6% and India can not achieve 8 percent Growth rate without Gujarat getting closer to 12% growth rate.

[3] If it was a nation it would have been 67th richest nation in the world above many European and Asian economies like Taiwan and Ukraine .

Gujarat holds many records in India for economic development:
20% of India ‘s Industrial Output
80% of India ‘s Diamond Production
9% of India ‘s Mineral Production
50% of India ‘s Natural Gas Production
54% of India ‘s Crude Oil Production
22% of India ‘s exports
24% of India ‘s textile production
45% of India ‘s pharmaceutical products
35% of India ‘s Sponge Iron Production
47% of India ‘s petrochemical Production

[4] The world’s largest ship breaking yard is in Gujarat near Bhavnagar at Alang. Reliance Petroleum Limited, one of the group companies of Reliance Industries Limited founded by Dhirubhai Ambani operates the oil refinery at Jamnagar which is the world’s largest grass roots refineries.

[5] Gujarat ranks first nationwide in gas-based thermal electricity generation with national market share of over 8% and second nationwide in nuclear electricity generation with national market share of over 1%.

[6] Over 20% of the S&P CNX 500 conglomerates have corporate offices in Gujarat Over 35% of the stock market wealth of India is with Gujarati People.

[7] In recent Forbes magazine list of 10 richest Indian people four are Gujarati – Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani, Azim Premji and Tulsi Tanti over 60% of Indian Population in North America is Gujarati.

[8] An average income of a Gujarati family in North America is three times more than the average income of an American family.

[9] Gujarat is having the longest sea shore compared to any other Indian state

Gujarat is having the highest no. of operating airports in India (Total 12).

India’s 16% of Investment are from Gujarat.

[10] Gujarat is having highest no. of vegetarian people compared to any other state in India ..

[11] The first ALL VEG PIZZA-HUT was opened in Ahmedabad

[12] Ahmedabad “ the commercial capital of Gujarat is the seventh largest city in India.

[13] Surat is the fastest growing city in the world.

[14] Gandhinagar is the Greenest Capital City in whole Asia

[15] Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad(IIMA) is Asia ‘s 1st and world’s 45th ranked management college located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat .

[16] Gujarat is the safest state as the Crime rate of it is 8.2 which is the least in India stated by India Today 2005 report.

[17] Gujarat is having least crime against women among all Indian states where AP is 1st, Delhi is 2nd , Bihar is 3rd , Zarakhand is 4th and UP is 5th.

[18] Ahmedabad which is the seventh largest city in India is the lowest in crime rate among all Tier-I and Tier-II cities of India as per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report.

[19] Ahmedabad is ranked 2nd in Real Estate – Ahead of Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai & Delhi.

[20] Ahmedabad is ranked 3rd in Policy Initiatives – Ahead of Bangalore, Chennai, Calcutta, Mumbai & Delhi.

[21] Ahmedabad is ranked 4th in Manpower – Ahead of Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai & Delhi. Percent of man-days lost in Gujarat due to labor strike are lowest in country – just 0.52%

[22] It is the first state to implement the BOT law for encouraging private sector participation.

[23] The first state to have to fully functional LNG terminal.

[24] Gujarat has 33 approved SEZs.

[25] Gujarat is the first state to interconnect 20 rivers.

[26] It is the first state to provide uninterrupted 24hr 2 phase electricity to all villages.

[28] It is the only state with statewide gas grid.

[29] It is currently implementing statewide water distribution grid that will connect all 14,000 villages and all cities.

[30 ]It has largest e-governance network in Asia Pacific.

[31] Its agricultural production has been increased four-fold in five years (from USD 2 Billion in 2001-2002 to 7.5 Billion in 2005-2006).

[32] In every corner of Gujarat, within the range of 25 KMs there is a development going on.

[33] Operation WHITE FLOOD (MILK) was initiated in Gujarat by Dr. Kurien which took India in 1998 to become highest milk producer in the world.

[34] Consumption of GOLD in Gujarat is highest in India.

[35] Largest number of immigration & emigration is done from Gujarat.

Also highest Numbers of passports are issued from Gujarat .

[36] Baroda gas project – bringing natural gas to every home – more than 35 years ago they installed pipelines to bring natural gas to every kitchen.

[37] AMUL – NDDB another achievement for Gujarat – it was just fantastic to see how they collected milk early morning from every village in Gujarat. The villagers would line up at 3 in the morning at the milk collection centers!!! What a sight!

[38] According to a recent study by the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank, Gujarat stood first in the country with investments of US$17.8 billion in 2006-07 or 25.8% of India ‘s total investment of $69 billion during the year.The southern state of Andhra Pradesh stood a distant second having attracted $6.1 billion in 2006-07.

[39] Gujarat moved up from second place in 2005-06 having tripled its investments in a year. A report in Times of India describes the Gulf of Kutch as India’s ‘Gulf of Riches’. Four top business houses – Reliance Industries, Essar Group, Adani Group and Tata Group, have invested about $34 billion along the Gulf of Kutch’s 700-kilometer long coastline. Other corporate, which had invested over $3.26 billion since the 2001 earthquake have investments worth another $19.5 billion in the pipeline.

[40] Ten special economic zones (SEZs) near Jamnagar, a 4000-megawatt power project and five private shipyards are coming up. And massive expansion is being undertaken of the Mundra and Kandla ports.

[41] Gujarat’s 41 ports handle 80% of India’s port traffic and 20% of its cargo. It is estimated that by 2015, Gujarat’s ports will handle 39% of India’s cargo.

[42] Not only has Gujarat unseated Maharashtra as India’s number one investment destination but also, it is threatening to dislodge Mumbai, Maharashtra’s capital and the financial and business capital of India, as the trade gateway to the country.

[43] Mundra port where Indian Oil Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum are setting up giant oil storage capacities has already emerged as India’s largest private oil storage tank farm. Sixty percent of India’s coal imports enter via Mundra port. Mundra’s importance is likely to soar further with the completion of mega power plants being set up by Adanis and Tatas.

[44] The volume of cargo handled by Mundra and Kandla ports alone has outstripped that handled by Mumbai’s ports – the Mumbai Port Trust and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust. And now Gujarat is nursing ambitions of dislodging Mumbai as India ‘s financial hub. Its government recently announced the setting up of an international financial services center, the Gujarat International Finance Tech-City with an investment outlay of $6 billion in Ahmedabad.

[45] Forbes Magazine published list of Top 20 Self-Made Business-Men from Asia The list includes 6 men from India and out of 6 three are Gujarati – Tulsi Tanti, Gautam Adani and Uday Kotak.

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