Ratan Tata turns 83. Here is what the businessman is known for
A Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awardee, philanthropist and one of the most successful businessmen the country has ever produced, Ratan Tata’s legacy speaks for itself. The business tycoon turned 83 on Monday.
Born on December 28, 1937, Tata graduated from the Riverdale Country School in New York City and received a degree in architecture with structural engineering from Cornell University, US. He later enrolled at the Harvard Business School and completed an Advanced Management Program in 1975.
He began his journey to the top with Tata Steel division in 1962 and was appointed the director-in-charge of the National Radio & Electronics Company Limited in 1971. Two years after completing his course from Harvard, Tata was moved to Empress Mills, a struggling textile mill under the Tata Group. It was in 1991 that JRD Tata stepped down as chairperson of Tata Sons, naming Ratan Tata as his successor.
Under his leadership, Tata Sons’ revenue grew over 40 times and profit over 50 times. He was instrumental in the business’ expansion and conceptualisation of popular cars like the Tata Nano and the Tata Indica. He got Tata Tea to acquire Tetley, Tata Motors to acquire Jaguar Land Rover, and Tata Steel to acquire Corus and in 2004. Tata Motors was even listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
As a philanthropist, Ratan Tata’s reputation is unmatched. Sixty-five per cent of his shares are invested in charitable trusts including the Tata Education and Development Trust, an affiliate of the Tata Group which provided a $28 million Tata Scholarship Fund to Cornell University to provide financial aid to undergraduate students from India.
Tata donated $50 million to his alma mater, Harvard Business School, for the construction of an executive centre. He also gave Rs 950 million to IIT Bombay, the largest donation received in its history, and formed the Tata Centre for Technology and Design to develop design and engineering principles suited to the needs of people and communities with limited resources. The Tata Group formed the MIT Tata Center of Technology and Design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to address the hurdles faced by communities with limited resources. It also donated Rs 1,500 crore to help India fight the coronavirus pandemic this year.
Ratan Tata has received several major awards including the honorary fellowship of the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2007, the title of Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, in 2009, the Oslo Business for Peace Award by the Business for Peace Foundation in 2010, the Honorary Knight Grand Cross of The Order of the British Empire in 2014, and Commander of the Legion of Honour by the government of France.
He showed immense strength and courage when he stood unarmed and alone outside the Taj Hotel during the 26/11 terror attacks and coordinated the activities to help the victims. He also personally visited the families of all the 80 employees who were killed or injured during the attack in 2008.
Ratan Tata retired as the chairperson of Tata Sons on his 75th birthday in 2012, giving the reins to Cyrus Mistry of Shapoorji Pallonji Group. Mistry was ousted in 2016 and Tata was made interim chairperson until January 12, 2017, and Natarajan Chandrasekaran was named as Tata Sons’ chairperson.