“ I don’t believe in taking the right decisions. I take decisions and then make them right.” (Always believe in your ability and efforts.)
Known to be shy and a very private person in his personal life. Bachelor who lives alone in his apartment in Mumbai. Loves home cooked food. Ardent art collector. Passion for flying and for cars. “He is a very private man. Even his closest business aides know little about what he does in his free time,” says a veteran at the group. It’s anybody’s guess what he will do after he steps down from the country’s top private sector job. Those who know him well believe he will indulge in all his pet interests, things he didn’t have enough time for while helming the group.
From driving cars to flying choppers, from charity to business strategy, he does it all, and he does it passionately. But, despite being the cynosure of all eyes, very little is known about his life.
A SHAKY START Left to himself, Ratan Tata would probably have stayed on in the United States after training as an architect at Cornell University. But the son of deputy group chairman Naval Tata and the nephew of JRD Tata couldn’t be allowed to work outside the group (he had an offer from IBM). In 1962, Ratan joined the family business, working on the Tata Steel shop floor at Jamshedpur, just one of several thousand employees. He got his first independent assignment less than a decade later — as director of National Radio and Electronics (Nelco), in 1971 . Nelco was in dire straits when Ratan came on board — losses of 40% and barely 2% share of the consumer electronics market. Just when he turned it around, the Emergency was declared. A weak economy and labour issues compounded the problem and Nelco was quickly near collapse again.
Contd…. Ratan’s next assignment was just as trouble-stricken. He was asked to turn around the sick Empress Mills. He did, but was refused the Rs 50 lakh (Rs 5 million) investment required . Empress Mills floundered and was finally closed in 1986. The two ‘failures’ haunted Ratan for decades. His track record was suspect, he was jinxed, said his baiters. “My first directorship was that of Nelco and the status of that company has forever been held against me”. The attacks became more vicious after 1981, when JRD stepped down as Tata Industries chairman, naming Ratan his successor — in one leap, Ratan had moved to the head of the queue for eventual leadership of the entire Tata Group, and that was completely unacceptable to many.
Personal Life Ratan Tata was born into the famous Tata family on December 28, 1937. A prominent family belonging to Mumbais wealthy Parsi community. Schooling from Campion school in Mumbai. In 1962:- Completed B.Sc degree in architecture with structural engineering from Cornell university . In 1975:- Done the advanced management program from Harvard business school.
Beginning Career in TATA December 1962 :- He joined the Tata Group, after turning down a job with IBM on the advice of JRD Tata. He was first sent to Jamshedpur to work at Tata Steel. In 1971, Ratan was appointed the Director-in-Charge of The National Radio & Electronics Company Limited (Nelco). In 1981, Ratan was named director of Tata Industries, the Groups other holding company.
Personality Very dignified Ethical Dependable Believes in keeping promises Loyal and believes in relationships Risk taker but not a speculator Exemplary leadership qualities and a tremendous motivator of people
Organizational CultureTata has always been values-driven. These values continue to direct thegrowth and business of Tata companies. The five core Tata valuesunderpinning the way we do business are:Integrity: We must conduct our business fairly, with honesty andtransparency. Everything we do must stand the test of public scrutiny.Understanding: We must be caring, show respect, compassion and humanityfor our colleagues and customers around the world, and always work for thebenefit of the communities we serve.Excellence: We must constantly strive to achieve the highest possiblestandards in our day-to-day work and in the quality of the goods and serviceswe provide.Unity: We must work cohesively with our colleagues across the group andwith our customers and partners around the world.Responsibility: We must continue to be responsible, sensitive to thecountries, communities and environments in which we work.
Meeting With Values Globally , Tata is recognized as not just another business , but as an Indian Institution with value systems in place. Mr. Ratan Tata brought in a culture where people tried doing things better than what was being done. He brought all the Tata companies under one umbrella of “TATA” , with common values and vision. The company believes in returning wealth to the society they serve.Two –thirds equity of the Tata Sons is held by philanthropic trusts. He ensured that the Tata name was not used by any and every company in the group. Only those abided by a code of conduct & values were allowed to use the Tata name . This brought a ‘sense of pride’ to all that used the brand name Tata.
Awards & Recognition Mr. Ratan Tata was awarded the Padma Bhusan in 2000 and the Padma Vibhusan in 2008 by the Government of India. In 2009,Mr. Ratan Tata was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (K.B.E.). The Ohio State University honored Mr. Ratan Tata with the doctorate degree in business administration and an honorary fellowship by the London School of Economics Recipient of the Global Indian Award at the NASSCOM Global Leadership Awards 2008. In 2010 he was awarded Businessman of the Decade by the Federation of Indo-Israel Chambers of Commerce Listed among the 25 most powerful people in business by Fortune magazine in 2007
Other Roles Chairman of the Government of India’s Investment Commission. Respected member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry, the National Hydrogen Energy Board and the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council. Member of the American International Group, the Asia- Pacific Advisory committee, JP Morgan Chase and Rolls Royce. One of the Board of Directors of the New York Stock Exchange.
Milestones & Controversies The TATA –CORUS Deal: This proposed acquisition represented a defining moment for Tata Steel and was entirely consistent with the strategy of growth through international expansion. Tata- Nano Singur Controversy: This controversy cost the TATA group a huge amount of loss and the question were raised over TATA’s social record.
Conclusion Mr. Ratan Tata has accomplished success without taking shortcuts. He has been very conscious of both the quality of the means and the social significance of the ends , showing the way forward to entrepreneurs, who wish to succeed without compromising their integrity and dignity. Mr. Rata Tata has been instrumental in transforming leadership ethos of the Indian business dynamics and placing India amongst the top Global markets.