Personalities of India
R. D. Tata
A. P. J. Abdul
Marshal Sam Maneckshaw
B. K. S.
P. T. Usha
as Lakshmi Niwas Mittal) was born in the remote village of Safalpur in
desert state of Rajasthan. The village that Mittal grew up in had
electricity or basic amenities. In an attempt to better his family's
standards, his father moved the family to Calcutta in the early I960s.
Lakshmi Mittal's father bought over a small steel factory in Calcutta.
studied business and accountancy at St. Xavier's College, from 6.30 am
am before returning to work a full day in the family business.
years created an
indelible mark in young Mittal's mind, and began to fuel his passion to
something big in his life. In 1976, Mittal completed his
Commercial Studies. Along with his father, Lakshmi Mittal started a
called “Ispat” to manufacture steel. He was well ingrained
in the Steel
business within a few years, but he was not satisfied with the prospect
running a small business. There was a fierce ambition in Mittal, which
him to achieve greater heights.
point in time, the
Indian Government passed a rule restricting domestic steel production.
looked for options abroad. He started a state-of-the-art mill in
This was the turning point in Mittal's career, as he eventually found
opportunity in the international marketplace. The international demand
steel was tremendous as the world was going through a massive economic
growth. His factory needed non-scrap iron to meet this demand.
Mittal to Trinidad and Tobago, where he was able to source the same.
1989, Mittal found an
opportunity in Trinidad, where he bought a steel firm called Iscott.
had a good infrastructure but bad management, because of which it was
heavy losses. Mittal saw the challenge laden with opportunity, and
the resurrection of the firm. Within a year, under Mittal's sound
Iscott was making profits. This strategy has remained Mittal's forte
day. He purchased many more loss-making steel factories, and turned
with his prowess and professional management. Lakshmi Mittal had
world of steel had
the entry of a magnate, and the stage was set for a spate of takeovers
growth. Over the next decade, Mittal moved on successfully through
acquisitions in many countries. He bought Steel Plants in Mexico,
Germany, Ireland and Kazakhstan. All of these added to his already vast
Lakshmi Mittal wanted to shift his headquarters to London, UK, which he
the world’s financial epi-centre. He quickly moved his
Indonesia to London in 1995. This move helped the group's growth in
the next 5 years,
list of companies grew, and so did his personal wealth. The world
this unusual, especially for a man from a remote Indian village to grow
level of one of the richest people in UK. In an interview, he was asked
explain his heritage, he said: "In India, we have a much diversified
culture. This provides a lot of flexibility in adapting to different
doing things, within a philosophy of working in a global environment
looking for growth opportunities."
upward growth was temporarily stunted, as there was an oversupply of
the world, bringing down demand for his product. In the
“Richest people in
UK” list published in March 2001, Lakshmi Mittal was ranked 17th.
But this soon
changed when Mittal purchased a Romanian state-owned Steel
company called Sidex with the backing of Tony Blair. This deal was
lucrative albeit controversial, but brought Lakshmi Mittal up the
Men of the World” ladder quickly once again.
2005, the Forbes
named him the 3rd richest man in the world and the richest person in
UK. This was an achievement past compare for a young impoverished
rural Rajasthan. True to his image of being one of the world's richest
Lakshmi Mittal organized his daughter’ss wedding in
style. The invitee's
list included the top politicians and entrepreneurs from around the
many from the film industry too. In spite of his awesome wealth, Mittal
remained away from the glare of the media. His interviews were rare.
was asked, “Having made so much money, however, is there not a
you and your family to go and lie on a beach somewhere?”
“We are all enjoying
success” he admitted. “You see, we are a small family and
if we sit around the
dining table and talk business, the children are sitting there, they
When my son was young, eight or ten years old, he would come with me to
factories and look at how the steel is being made and watch his father
to people, so you start learning from that age. These are great
which don't come from books.” Lakshmi Mittal has grown a small
into one of the largest steel companies in the world, with steel making
facilities in fourteen countries and employing more than 150,000 People.
witnessing India win
one medal, bronze, in the 2000 Summer Olympics, and one medal, silver,
2004 Summer Olympics, Mittal decided to set up Mittal Champions Trust
million to support 10 Indian athletes with world-beating potential. In
Mittal awarded Abhinav Bindra with Rs. 1.5 Crore, for getting India its
individual Olympic gold medal in shooting.
March 2008, Mittal was reported to be the
wealthiest person in Asia, by Forbes Magazine. His residence at
Palace Gardens, London, was purchased from Formula One boss, Bernie
in 2004 for 57 million pounds (US$ 128 million), making it the world's
expensive house, at that date. The story of Lakshmi Mittal will
to evoke admiration for millions around the world.
Wright, Orville Wright