Follow the footprints… A biography of Ratan Tata“January 31st, 2007 the Tata Group pulled off one of the

biggest acquisitions inIndian corporate history. The Corus Group, an Anglo-Dutch steel and aluminumconglomerate was taken over by the Tata Sons against an astounding £6.7 billionat the rate of 608 pence per share against a Brazilian steel company that had bid603 pence.” Ratan Tata is regarded as the doyen of the new era of businessenterprises in the Indian mainland. The 21st century has at last, it is said, a truepatron by whom the Indians can dream of a world contest by virtue of intelligence, entrepreneurship and perseverance. Of the very little informationabout Ratan Tata in the public domain, it is well known that he had a troubledchildhood.Ratan Tata was born into an old Parsi family of Bombay, the first child of Soonoo& Naval Hormusji Tata. His parents separated in the mid1940s, when he wasabout 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.During college, Ratan joined Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity (One of the oldest socialfraternity of the United Statesfounded at Yale in 1845 ).In 1962, after graduatingfrom Cornell University with a degree in Architecture and Structural engineering,Ratan joined the family business. Ratan turned down a job offer from IBM,following the advice of J.R.D Tata, and entered the family business. He was sentto Jamshedpur to work at Tata Steel. In true Tata fashion, there he worked on thefloor along with other blue-collar employees, shovelling limestone and handlingthe blast furnaces. In 1971, he was appointed director-in-charge of The NationalRadio & Electronics Company (NELCO), a company that was in dire financialdifficulty, no one; perhaps his best wisher even thought of its success. But Ratanrealizing the potential that Nelco provided with an innate prudence that hi-tech was the way to go in the future; he lost no time and convinced J.R.D. Tata forfurther investment. Though J.R.D. was reluctant initially but the successes of Nelco proved the credence and aplomb of Ratan.This mindset of adopting risks towards the escalation of business gained a new stronghold when in 1991 the legendary J.R.D. Tata was replaced by Ratanepitomizing not only the change of the old guard but also a definite alteration of the shibboleth self-content of the erstwhile generations. By the time JRD passedaway in December 1993, it was clear that Ratan Tata’s vision for consolidatinggroup companies under the Tata Sons banner had the patriarch’s stamp of approval. As India’s second round of economic liberalisation got underway, theTatas’ holding company gradually increased its shareholding in group companieslike Tisco (now Tata Steel), Telco (now Tata Motors), Tata Chemicals and TataTea. Under him Tata Consultancy Services went public and Tata Motors waslisted in the New York Stock Exchange.In 1998, Tata Motors came up with Tata Indica, the first truly Indian car. The car was the brainchild of Ratan Tata.His aggressive approach towards business was best revealed when on January 31st, 2007 the Tata Group pulled off one of the biggest acquisitions in Indian corporate history. The Corus Group, an Anglo-Dutch steel and aluminum conglomerate was taken over by the Tata Sons againstan astounding £6.7 billion at the rate of

000 crore group in 1993 to Rs 1. Jamsetji Tata: The founder of the Tata Group began with a textile mill incentral India in the 1870s. 2. With the Tatas growing from Rs 13.His powerful vision inspired the steel and powerindustries in India. the trained pilot who still takes to the skies on hisown aircraft has picked up a number of awards like the Padma Bhushan andForbes Asia’s Businessman of the Year award. Hatfield Fellow in Economic Education.5lakh crore following the acquisition of Corus. which has been provedeloquently in the later years. According to him.The Tata Titans1. The merger created the sixth largest steelproducing entity in the world and at once made Ratan Tata an immortal figure inthe history of Indian corporate business culture. He has a passion for homecooked food and is known to indulge deeply in art collection. In the meeting he told the press about his Singur-small-car plant. This model was appreciated by all theglobal dealers of four-wheelers. all eyes are now on the reclusiveRatan Tata. He serves in senior capacities in various organisations in India and he is a member of the Prime Minister'sCouncil on Trade and Industry. In March 2006 he was honoured by CornellUniversity as the 26th Robert S. universal health development. Another feather of success gotattached with this man when he presented the latest Tata fourwheeler model TataElegante at Geneva on March 6.608 pence per share against a Braziliansteel company that had bid 603 pence. manufacture is going to start there soon andthe first small car costing around Rs 1 lakh is going to be launched by the middleof 2008. Known to guard his privacy jealously. He is known to be a supporter of thetraditional Parsi way of life and is believed to have funded the religious educationof community youngsters. Ratan Tata has been spotted atParsi fire temples on festival days. From being solely linked to the success of the Indianeconomy. . He is the man who was instrumental in thesetting up of the Tata Foundation. Eventroubled destinations like Sudan and Iran are on Tata's radar.The US-educated bachelor lives alone with his two German Shepherds in anapartment in downtown Mumbai. However Tata’s publicists do not comment on thisaspect of his life and the only bits of information trickle out from community members. Along the way. whose ample evidences are scattered through the length and breadth of India he has done justice to his legacy. He is known to slip into the front seatalongside his driver to and from work. Having taken birthin a family that has earned its fame in the history of indigenousentrepreneurship. eradication of water scarcity and others. the progenitor of multitude of social causesthat include the rural. the Tata Group under Ratan Tata is looking at other destinations.considered the highest honor the university awards to distinguished individualsfrom the corporate sector. 2007.

5. Sir Ratan Tata: A philanthropist all his life.3. he created a trust fund for "theadvancement of learning and for the relief of human suffering and other works of public utility". this elder son of Jamsetji Tata was instrumental in transforminghis father's grand vision into reality.Sir Dorab Tata: Through his endeavours in setting up Tata Steel and TataPower. Naval Tata: Naval Tata's myriad contributions in the fields of business.sports administration and labour relations symbolised all that is best inthe Tata spirit of giving back to society. .4. JRD Tata: The late chairman of the Tata Group pioneered civil aviation onthe subcontinent in 1932 by launching the airline now known as Air India.

76 billion).49 per cent.In the past five years.Add to this . the cumulative investments in the Big Six touched Rs 22.12 crore (Rs227. with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.776.

In comparison. Asia/Middle East. like the more recent Tata Chemicals' [Get Quote ] bid for Egyptian Fertilisers. there are laggards.according to industry experts.Says Sanjiv Anand. and with growing competition in thedomestic market. Tata Tea is down from 11.71 per centlast year with its RONW tipping at 22. Cedar Consulting. In March 2004. Tata Steel and Tata Motors along with TCS chip in 75 per cent of the group's revenues and profits.Take two of the group's most capital intensive businesses -. and boththe return on capital employed (ROCE) and return on net worth (RONW) for many of thecompanies impacted positively." adds J J Irani.57 per cent."Globalisation is the way to go for us.97 per cent. and Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited picked up the world's most extensive submarine cable systems company Tyco Global Network inthe US. Tata Motors acquired the heavy commercial vehicle business of Daewoo Motors in Korea and followed it up with design house Hispano Carrocera."Hussain says today.Today. TataMotors virtually breasted the tape with its indigenously produced Indica and Indigo [Images]cars. "The primary responsibility of a CEO is to deliver on the financial performance of the company. Its RONW jumped sevenfold to 38. to hedge the cyclical nature of some of his flagships. There have been misses as well. five years ago. Its market share in commercial vehicles has gone up from 31. Six months later. Since 2002.67 per cent. UK. Tata Steel has become the world's lowest-cost producer. The non-financials become important in order to achieve and sustain the financial parameters.31 per cent five years ago to 2." Tata said recently.auto and steel. most of the Tata companies are going global. still do not single out the group as being aggressive.5 per cent of Tata Motors' revenues. competitor Ashok Leyland [Get Quote] saw its market share skid from 17.5 per cent three years ago. "That's all part of being in business. Does this mean that the group's success is due to the cyclical upturn that coincided for its firms? Perhaps. it is not able to make the best of opportunities. which fell through.32 per cent to 7. The TCS scrip closed last Wednesday at Rs 1. Look at .TCS acquired Phoenix Global Solutions and more recently. regional director.68 per cent last year.19 per cent. passenger cars drive 52. What brought about these results? "Many of its flagships slugged it out with competition admirably.13 per cent in 2004. Seize the world In fact. But these efforts. "A global footprint is very important for the group to remain competitive. So even as it picked up Tetley.the upturn in many of its businesses like steel and auto in the same period. Apart from bagging orders fromoverseas. they are acquiring foreign companies.59 per cent last year." says an investment banker." says a consultant."Despite incumbency.47 per cent to 15. TataSteel's ROCE galloped from 2. Indian Hotels extended its footprint in the US by bagging a management contract for the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan. Or Tata Motors' Rover deal in Europe. the erstwhile managing director of Tata Steel. Tata Steel acquired Singapore's NatSteel.98 per cent in FY04 to34.51 per cent to 22.308.13 per cent ROCE in 2002 sped to 16. Granted. it has accelerated its shopping spree in the past one year. Indian Hotels saw its ROCE plunge from 8. Tata Motors' negative 1. up from 49.

was the founder of the Tata group and passed the power and inheritance down to his family." says a Tata manager.So where does the group go from here? "We have a solid middle class that gives us longevityand staying power. say consultants. Tata's first job with the Group involvedworking with the Tata Steel division where he worked with the blue-collar employees shoveling stoneand working with the furnaces. where the parent company (TSL) is unlisted while itsoffspring are? Perhaps.Could it be its unusual group structure. Ratan Tata grew up in a broken household."We are organised more like a telephony model system. India in one of the richest families in thecountry. Nandini Lakshman & Gouri ShuklaSource:Biography – Ratan….Tata was a good student and studied hard at the Campion School in Mumbai followed by studies inarchitecture and structural engineering at Cornell University. Tata Power. Anunknown Mittal comes and grabs the market. "Our decision-making is loose.telecom.Tata Steel." says a Tata Sons director. Jamsedji Tata. Tata is India's largest conglomerate and includes the brands Tata Motors. as well as other brands labeled under the Tata name. which is not one of command-and-control. He graduated with his bachelors degree in1962 and joined the Tata Group in December of that same year. Indian Hotels.We believe that in the long term the quality of service and customer care will be the key tosurvival." reveals a Tata manager. Adds a senior Tata manager.Ratan Tata was born on December 28. "Just don't go by the numbers." says the head of a leading consulting firm. however. Everybody is being challenged. however. Ratan Tata became the Chairman of the Tata Group in 1981 after serving as Chairman in charge of theNelco division of the group."Hussain. But some Tata managers are candid about what needs to be done. concedes that telecom is a bigger challenge. But. job rotationwas unheard of in the company. until now.It is felt that the leadership at most of the Tata companies lacks the dynamism of many of itscompetitors and is not demanding of its managers. In 1971. hasn't improved hisreputation. His great grandfather. it helped Ratan Tata gain a better understanding and appreciation for the business and he gradually began taking on more responsibility." he says. after hisparents split in the mid-1940s and he and his brother were raised by their grandmother. Lady Navajbai. 1937 in Mumbai. Everyone is not progressing on the front equally. We want to be a truly internationalcompany.Although this original job was physically difficult. "Building a future cadre of leadership is necessary for us. The people paradox Human resource is another issue.He also points out to the group's late start into biotech. That Tata has personally led the company for almost 15 yearsand set up the Tata Business Excellence Model to trade best practices. but one where multiple activities are happening. Tatabecame Director-in-Charge of the National Radio & Electronics Company .

More importantly.This Ratan Tata biography may not be reproduced online.RatanTata-India . and best in our value systems and ethics. Ihope the Group comes to be regarded as being the best in India. Corus Group as well as Jaguar and Land Rover brands from the FordCompany. free of communalism andcasteism. Ratan Tata was able to transform the management and vision of the division andbring in significantly larger dividends. and he wasmoved to the Tata Industries.RatanTata-India . Instead.Copyright © Woopidoo. We can be a truly greatnation if we set our sights high and deliver to the people the fruits of continued growth.Limited (Nelco) in order tohelp its struggling finances.com (ek) Ratan Tata Quotes One hundred years from now. to Tata's disappointment. But we need to unite to make a unified India.Best -Products. India. prosperity andequal opportunity. I expect the Tatas to be much bigger than it is now. the mill was shut down and liquidated in 1986. eventually purchasing the steelan aluminum producer. Having said that. best in the manner in which weoperate.Ratan Tata renewed the vision for the mill but the larger Tata Group was not in agreement with hisadvice. Ihope that a hundred years from now we will spread our wings far beyond India.GrowthProud -Opportunity-Great. a struggling textile mill within the Tata Group. another holding company. Ratan Tata helped build a better consumer electronics division but theeconomic recession and union strikes prevented his vision from taking hold.Tata was eventually moved to Empress Mills in 1977.Ratan Tata continued to acquire different industries for the Tata Group. We need to build India into a land of equal opportunity for all. best in the products we deliver.Wealth . This renewed financial success helped bring the Tata Group tothe New York Stock Exchange and gave the company even more international power and prestige.With Tata Industries..Ethics-GrowthInspirationalI am proud of my country.Ratan Tata lives a very private life in Mumbai.