was born on December
1937 to Naval and Soonoo Tata. Ratan's childhood was not exceptional,
parents divorced when he was just seven. But his grandmother ensured
never missed his mother. She showered Ratan and his brother Jimmy with
at the same time trained them to be disciplined and gentlemanly. Even
Ratan attributes his success to the excellent upbringing by his
the same time, Ratan was very close to his mother, Soonoo. Soonoo had
remarried, but remained in close touch with her sons.
at Bombay's famous Campion School, Ratan moved to the United States to
Structural Engineering at the prestigious Cornell
University. After his
graduation, Ratan wanted to stay back in the US and make a career for
But his grandmother persuaded him to come back and join the family
was the turning point in Ratan's life. Even though at that time, he was
reluctant to return to India, today he looks back and acknowledges that
the right decision.
back in India, Ratan
joined TELCO (today Tata Motors), which was into manufacturing of
Soon, he was shifted to TISCO, the flagship company of the Tata's,
into the manufacture of Iron and Steel. He worked at TISCO's plant at
Jamshedpur for six years, during which time he learned both, the
aspects of the company’s products, and the corporate values of
the Tata Group.
1968, Ratan was shifted
to Bombay to assume a more senior position within the
everything was not fine. Ratan was given charge of two sick companies
Tata group, Nelco and Central India Textiles. It was a difficult
Ratan, however Ratan turned around both the companies within a few
years. This experience strengthened Ratan immensely, and he was
to take on larger responsibilities. He had also left an enduring mark
seniors in the Tata's Management Team.
perseverance and hard
bore fruit when he was made Chairman of Tata Industries in 1981. He
from JRD Tata, who was now 78 years old, and was slowly moving towards
retirement. This move created waves in the world of business.
being hailed as the heir apparent of the Tata Empire. But Ratan's
victory was also laced with grief; his mother was diagnosed with a
cancer. Ratan immediately flew with her to New York for her treatment.
stayed with her for four months, till she lost the battle to the
this period, Ratan
plenty of time to think. And look at various avenues for the Tata Group
with the times. The once dominant and monopolist group was now
stiff competition in all spheres of business. Ratan had sensed the
revolution. He knew he had to convert the Tata group into a highly
and diversified group of companies. He thought out a process,
the 1983 Tata Strategic Plan. This was the turning point in the Tata's
of more than 100 years, a group that had stuck on to generic businesses
diversification. With JRD Tata's support, Ratan diversified into
contemporary industries like telecommunication, software, biotechnology
same time, he
intense culture of competitiveness within the Tata Group. Slowly the
attitude of the employees and management changed. In 1991, JRD
named Ratan as the Chairman of the entire Tata Group. This move was
accepted by the business community and within the Tata group. Their
not misplaced as Ratan began to grow the Tata group to dizzy heights,
innovation and customer value as the key words. He was instrumental in
the first totally indigenous Indian Car, Sierra, Estate and Indica.
also was a forerunner
the emerging software field through his pet project the Tata
Services. Both these ventures put the Tata's back into the top echelons
Indian and International economy. The existing businesses were
bounced back into market leadership positions in spite of intense
competition. Ratan's radical change in the group’s
questioned by the senior management team. Eventually, these very
commended and lauded.
tenure at the helm
not filled with high points, but loaded with problems too. The Union
Tata's Pune plant in the 1990s, turned ugly and threatened to tarnish
reputation of the Tata Empire, which was built over a century. But
stood up and fought. And Won. Over the years, Ratan Tata won many such
situations, and carried on the legacy of his predecessors capably.
his leadership, the
group has grown tremendously Ratan Tata has his own capital in Tata
holding company of the group. Though his share is just about 1%, his
holding is valued at US$1 Billion. About 66% of the equity capital of
is held by philanthropic trusts endowed by members of the Tata family.
this shareholding belonged to Ratan’s ancestors and these trusts
by them, Ratan Tata has an effective right over them. If all the value
is added, his Net Worth is estimated at around US$50 Billion, making
one of the richest people in the world.
January 31, 2007, under
chairmanship of Ratan Tata, Tata Sons successfully acquired Corus
Anglo-Dutch steel and aluminium producer. The merger created the fifth
steel producing entity in the world. On March 26, 2008, Tata Motors
Jaguar & Land Rover, the two iconic British brands, from Ford Motor
Company. Ratan Tata's dream was to manufacture a car costing just Rs
He realized his dream by launching the Tata Nano car in New Delhi Auto
January 10, 2008.
lives a simple life without the hype that
would normally go with a person of his statue. His vision to steer each
Tata group companies towards growth and profits has come true.