Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry: A Construction Mogul



Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry: A Construction Mogul

Success is every person’s dream. But only few can make it up to attain it.  Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry (Emeritus Chairman of Shapoorji Pallonji Group), after graduating from Imperial College London, Pallonji like any other scion ventured into his father’s real estate business, to assist him. Even though it was a family business, Pallonji began his career from the scratch by supporting his father and took over the company after his father’s demise. Gradually, with his constant hard work and zeal he expanded the business into various sectors such as construction, textiles, engineering goods, shipping, publication, biotechnology and power. The Group also owns an extensive range of companies that include SP International, Afcons Construction, Sterling & Wilson, Eureka Forbes and more.

Pallonji is a very media shy person. He always chooses to maintain a low profile and has also stayed away from the scandals and controversies. In spite of his introvert personality, he has grown to be a splendid business tycoon and holds the net worth of $16.9 billion. He is also the largest individual stakeholder of the esteemed Tata Group. It all started when his father Shapoorji Mistry brought the Tata Sons’ shares in 1930s and eventually the equity has grown to be 18.9 percent today, making Pallonji the fifth richest Indian. This is when the ties between the Tata’s and Mistry’s began. It is been speculated in corporate world that the Mistry’s  never had a warm acceptance into Tata Group  until  Noel Tata, half brother of Ratan Tata, married Pallonji’s eldest daughter Aloo, post which the relation between the two eased.

It is also stated that on Pallonji’s insistence, Ratan Tata proposed Cyrus Mistry, second son of Pallonji, as the Chairman of Tata Group. In 2012, Cyrus took charge as the Chairman, but within four years, on October 24, 2016 the board of Tata Group removed him from the chair, citing management differences. The business associations of these two families also include the constructions of the The Taj Mahal Palace Tower and The Oberoi Hotel. They also took the responsibility of the renovation of the two iconic creation post the Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008.

Shapoorji Group’s Establishment

The construction icon Shapoorji Group traces its origin back in 1865 with the joint venture along with Littlewood Pallonji. At a slow pace the company went on to work on small projects such as nuclear establishment stadiums & auditoriums, factories, airports, skyscrapers, roads & expressways, power plant and many more. It is also renowned for constructing some most risky creation such as reservoir on Malabar Hills.

Later in 1973, under Pallonji’s leadership, the Group went on to build some masterpieces in Mumbai, which includes Taj Mahal Tower, The Reserve Bank of India, The Bank of India Building, HSBC Bank, Breach Candy Hospital, The Trident and lot more. In 1976, it constructed the ‘The Palace of the Sultan of Oman’ in Oman; this marked the company’s first international project. It was the defining moment for the company. Since then there is no looking back for the Shapoorji Group. Pallonji always believed in giving the best, no compromise on quality and on time delivery has largely elevated their reputation.  

The Indian born Pallonji gave up his Indian citizenship to marry an Irish born Patsy Perin Dubash and obtained Irish citizenship in 2003 as India doesn’t permit dual citizenship. He has two sons, Shapoor Mistry and Cyrus Mistry, and two daughters, Aloo and Laila. His intense love for horse is why he owns a stud farm in Pune with more than hundred horses.

Awards &Accolades

Pallonji for his outstanding contribution towards the trade and industry has been honored with the country’s third highest civilian Award ‘Padma Bhushan’ in 2016 by the Government of India. In 2008, Manju Namburu has penned a short biography on Pallonji titled ‘The Moguls of Real Estate’.  Later in 2012, he chose to retire and passed on the legacy to his eldest son Shapoor Mistry.