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Ratan Tata Profile Essay

Also known as: India’s ‘most eligible bachelor’, even at 75. Theatre of Operations: IT, Communications, Engineering, Materials, Chemicals, Services, Consumer Products, Energy – all with global footprints Started his career with: Tata Steel, on the shop floor

Favorite Allies: His German Shepherds

Famous Quote: “I don’t believe in taking right decisions. I take decisions and then make them right” Thorn in his side: His connection with the 2G spectrum scam If he weren’t leading a $71 billion conglomerate, he’d be: Flying planes Family: Brother Jimmy, half-brother Noel and three half-sisters Latest project: Pouring $15 million into a project researching water as fuel Exit Strategy: Cyrus Pallonji Mistry will take charge from December 2012

Ratan Naval Tata, KBE (born 28 December 1937), is an Indian businessman who became chairman of the Tata Group (1991–2012), a Mumbai-based conglomerate. He is a member of a prominent Tata family of Indian industrialists and philanthropists.

Early life

Tata is the adoptive great-grandson of Tata group founder Jamshedji Tata. His father, Naval Tata, had been adopted from the family of a distant relative by Jamshedji’s childless younger son, also named Ratan Tata, and his wife Navajbai. Tata’s parents (Naval and his first wife Sooni) separated in the mid-1940s, when Ratan was seven and his younger brother Jimmy was five years old. Both he and his brother were raised by their grandmother Lady Navajbai. Many years later, Naval Tata took a second wife, Simone, and fathered another son, Noel Tata.

Tata began his schooling in Bombay at Campion School, Bishop Cotton School, Shimla and finished at Cathedral and John Connon School. He completed his B.S. in architecture with structural engineering from Cornell University in 1962, and the Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School in 1975. He is a member of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity.


Tata began his career in the Tata group in 1962; he initially worked on the shop floor of Tata Steel, shovelling limestone and handling the blast furnace.

In 1991, JRD Tata stepped down as Tata Industries chairman, naming Ratan as his successor. He was heavily criticized for lacking experience in running a company of the scale of Tata Industries.

In 1991 he was appointed as the chairman of the Tata group. Under his stewardship, Tata Tea acquired Tetley, Tata motors acquired Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Steel acquired Corus, which have turned Tata from a largely India-centric company into a global business, with 65% revenues coming from abroad. He also pushed the development of Indica and the Nano.

Ratan Tata retired from all executive responsibility in the Tata group in December 28th 2012 which is also his 75th birthday and he is succeeded by Cyrus Mistry, the 44-year-old son of Pallonji Mistry and managing director of Shapoorji Pallonji Group.

He is currently the chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, Tata Motors and Tata Steel. He is also the chairman of the main two Tata trusts Sir Dorabji Tata and Allied Trusts and Sir Ratan Tata Trust which together hold 66% of shares in the group holding company Tata Sons.

Ratan Tata has served in various capacities in organizations in India and abroad. He is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry. Tata is on the board of governors of the East-West Center, the advisory board of RAND’s Center for Asia Pacific Policy and serves on the program board of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s India AIDS initiative.

Honors and awards

Ratan Tata’s foreign affiliations include membership of the international advisory boards of the Mitsubishi Corporation, the American International Group, JP Morgan Chase and Booz Allen Hamilton. He is also a member of the board of trustees of the RAND Corporation, University of Southern California and Cornell University. He also serves as a board member on the Republic of South Africa’s International Investment Council and is a member of the Asia-Pacific advisory committee for the New York Stock Exchange. He received the Padma Bhushan in 2000 and Padma Vibhushan in 2008 and Lifetime Achievement Award awarded by Rockefeller Foundation in 2012. In 2009, Tata was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (K.B.E.).


The Tata group comprises over 100 operating companies in seven business sectors: communications and information technology, engineering, materials, services, energy, consumer products and chemicals. The group has operations in more than 80 countries across six continents, and its companies export products and services to 85 countries.

The total revenue of Tata companies, taken together, was $100.09 billion (around Rs475,721 crore) in 2011-12, with 58 percent of this coming from business outside India. Tata companies employ over 450,000 people worldwide. The Tata name has been respected in India for more than 140 years for its adherence to strong values and business ethics.

Every Tata company or enterprise operates independently. Each of these companies has its own board of directors and shareholders, to whom it is answerable. There are 32 publicly listed Tata enterprises and they have a combined market capitalisation of about $88.76 billion (as on December 27,
2012), and a shareholder base of 3.8 million. The major Tata companies are Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Tata Power, Tata Chemicals, Tata Global Beverages, Tata Teleservices, Titan, Tata Communications and Indian Hotels.

Tata Steel is among the top ten steelmakers, and Tata Motors is among the top five commercial vehicle manufacturers, in the world. TCS is a leading global software company, with delivery centres in the US, UK, Hungary, Brazil, Uruguay and China, besides India. Tata Global Beverages is the second-largest player in tea in the world. Tata Chemicals is the world’s second-largest manufacturer of soda ash and Tata Communications is one of the world’s largest wholesale voice carriers.

Going forward, Tata is focusing on new technologies and innovation to drive its business in India and internationally. The Nano car is one example, as is the Eka supercomputer (developed by another Tata company), which in 2008 was ranked the world’s fourth fastest. Anchored in India and wedded to traditional values and strong ethics, Tata companies are building multinational businesses that will achieve growth through excellence and innovation, while balancing the interests of shareholders, employees and civil society.

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