Ratan Tata was born into an old Parsi family of Bombay (present-day Mumbai), the first child of Soonoo & Naval Hormusji Tata. Ratan's childhood was troubled, his parents separating in the mid-1940s, when he was about seven and his younger brother Jimmy was five. His mother moved out and both Ratan and his brother were raised by their grandmother Lady Navajbai. He was schooled at the Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai.Ratan Tata is indeed a visionary and has made India proud. With novel ideas like the Tata Nano Priced at a lakh only, more people can afford to buy a car. He has played a very important role in helping increase the standard of living of the common man. The future of India is bright with leaders like Ratan Tata showing the way to success.
The company headed by Tata has almost single-handedly built Indian industry. Initially mill owners, the group now includes India's largest software house and one of its most prestigious hotel chains (the Taj), as well as steel and car production. The success of the Tata Group, India's largest conglomerate, is largely down to Tata's courageous and principled management strategies, and yet Ratan himself does not appear on any rich list; the Tata family owns just one per cent of the holding company.
A SLOW STARTER:
Early business failures in the Tata Group's electronics and mill interests did not mark Ratan out for a starring role. Indeed, when he succeeded his uncle, J.R.D. Tata, as chairman in 1991, few expected the group to survive the challenges of liberalization. By trimming the group's 300 "fiefdoms" and removing managers who didn't share his "global not local" vision, Tata reinvented the company.
Today, the Tata Group has the largest market capitalization of any business house of the Indian Stock Market. His ambitious global acquisition spree began in 2000 with the takeover of Tatley Tea. The 2007 purchase of Anglo-Dutch steel gaint Corus for $13 billion was the biggest takeover of a foreign company by an Indian corporate, marking his arrival as a truly global player.
It is often said that Tata's heart is in the motor industry. Famously media shy, Tata was propelled into the spotlight in 2008 with his bold takeover of prestige British brands Jaguar and Rover, a move that was branded as "reverse colonialism". In 1998 he launched the Indica, the first totally Indian car. With typically unwavering belief in his project to create a people's car, Tata proved skeptic wrong in 2008 with the launch of the "one lakh" ($2,150) car, the Tata Nano.
Under Tata's leadership, the group has set a standard for corporate responsibility. As well as providing housing, education and medical care to employees, the company ploughs over two thirds of profits into trusts that finance good causes. Unusually in India, the company is known to be incorruptible.
Audacious, degnified and philanthropic. One of Tata's first principles in business is to be bold but to "do no harm".
BUSINESS LESSONS: PUTTING SOMETHING BACK
Tata believes passionately in using his company's growth for the betterment of his employee's lives and the community at large. He believes the company's long-term position and influence depend on this approach, and that shareholders will prosper in such a regime.
- Avoid all corrupt activities even when times are difficult and temptation is high.
- Obey your instincts when they tell you that what you are being offered is too good to be true.
- Make sure your company listens to the community around it and contributes to its well-being.
The ability to think globally. Tata has transformed a lumbering, bureaucratic, Empire-rea conglomerate into a dynamic world player.
Deciding that Tata Group should make its own cars. Critics said it was vanity project, but Tata Motors is now India's second biggest car maker.