The Journey of Ratan Naval Tata


“Ratan Tata”- the name in itself represents the whole country India. Ratan Tata is more than a brand, he has become an emotion to Indian people. Such a great personality is an inspiration, not only to India but to the whole world.

Ratan Naval Tata was born to Mr. Naval Tata and Sooni Tata on 28th of December, 1937. He was born in one of the richest families in India. Mr. Naval Tata was one of the successful business persons and ‘Tata Group’ has been a leading business group.

Ratan Tata was born in Mumbai. He completed his schooling from Campion College, Mumbai and Cathedral & John Connon School, Mumbai. He completed his college from Cornell University in B.S. in Architecture in 1962 and completed the Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School in 1975. Ratan Tata started as a worker on the shop floor at Tata Steel, leading the country’s largest conglomerate as Chairperson. He is currently the chairperson of Tata Trusts.

Ratan Tata and Tata Group

Mr. Ratan started as a worker on the shop floor at Tata Steel. Apart from this, he worked at different business segments of Tata Group, to have an understanding about business. With all the experiences, Ratan Tata became an incharge of National Radio and Electronics Company Limited (NELCO) in 1971. Mr. Tata successfully turned around the business fate of NELCO. After working at different positions at different businesses of Tara Group, Mr. Ratan took over Tata Group as a Chairman in 1991. Tata Group went through a series of progressive transformations under the leadership of Ratan Tata.

Ratan Tata basically did the following things to make the ‘Tata Group” a leading business group:

  1. Ratan Tata rejuvenated the individual scattered spirit of different flagship companies of Tata Group into one. Different companies under Tata Group were operating with different cultures and approaches to business. Ratan Tata led all companies together defining a common value, culture and approach.
  2. Ratan Tata built a group into a brand. Now, Tata, as a company, is among the most valuable brands in the world. People trust any product when it has the branding of Tata. Association of Tata with any events, makes the event credible. For instance, the Indian Premier League (IPL) felt different when Tata became the title sponsor. Tata Group got this credibility from Ratan Tata. He built this empire.
  3. Ratan Tata led Tata Group as a global company. He introduced true globalization into Tata Group culture. From acquiring various multinational companies to establishing units in foreign land to listing Indian business in foreign stock exchanges, Ratan Tata took Tata Group to places.
  4. Ratan Tata introduced and encouraged innovation in business. There are various products and services which reflect the innovative approach of Tata Group. He made significant investments in upgrading the technology and revamping the product portfolio of Tata Group. From developing a passenger car to developing the cheapest car ‘nano’, from making world’s cheapest water purifier for mass reach to investing and promoting Tata Consulting Service (TCS), he started the innovation culture in Tata Group

The Number Game

Mr. Ratan Tata took over the Tata Group in 1991. Back then the market capitalization of the group was less than Rs. 8,000 crore. In 2012, he stepped down from the chairmanship of Tata Group. The market capitalization of Tata Group when he left was over Rs. 4.62 lakh crore. After Ratan Tata took over the company, he expanded the company globally and united the group as one. Innovation and Globalization in Tata Group, gelled together with a strong value, has been the key determinants for the success.

Major Decisions

Some of the major decisions made during Ratan Tata era in Tata Group are:

  1. Tata Tea (now Tata Consumer Products) acquired UK’s Tetley Group for $431.3 millions in 2000. Tetley is the largest tea company in the United Kingdom and Canada and second largest in the United States by volume.
  2. Tata Consulting Service (TCS) acquired CMC limited in 2001 for Rs. 152 crore. It was under the ownership of the Government of India.
  3. Tata Sons acquired 25 % stake of VSNL from the government for Rs. 1,439 crore. Now VSNL is Tata Communications and Tata Group has a stake of 58.87% in Tata Communication.
  4. In 2004, Tata Motors acquired the Heavy Vehicle unit of Daewoo Motors for $ 102 million, as a strategic decision to enter and utilize the South Korean market and expertise.
  5. Tata Steel bought NatSteel, Singapore’s Largest Steel Company, in 2005 for $365 million.
  6. In 2005, Tata Communications Limited (TCL) acquired Tyco Global Network (TNG) for $130 million. This acquisition made TCL one of the world’s largest submarine cable bandwidth providers.
  7. Indian Hotels Company Limited took over the management of The Pierre Hotel for a 30-year contract at $5 million. Similarly, Indian Hotels acquired a Starwood managed hotel in Sydney  from Harilela Group for $ 36 million.
  8. Tata Trent acquired 76 % stake in Landmark Chain of bookstores for Rs. 103.6 crore.
  9. Taj Group bought the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Boston for $ 170 million in 2006. In 2007, Taj Group acquired Campton Hotel in San Francisco for $ 58 million.
  10. Taj Chemical acquired  UK based Brunner, Mond, and Group for Rs. 508 crore.
  11. Tata Steel acquired Anglo-Dutch Steelmaker Corus Group for $ 12 billion.
  12. In 2008, Tata Motors acquired Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor Company for $ 2.3 billion.
  13. Tata Chemicals acquired General Chemical Industrial Products for $ 1 billion in 2008. Tata Chemicals also bought British Salt for Rs. 650 crore in 2011.
  14. TRF Limited acquired 51 % stake in Dutch Lanka Trailer Manufacturers Limited for $8.67 million. TRF also acquired UK based Hewitt Robins International for £3 million.

Awards and Recognition

Ratan Tata excelled in the journey of the Tata Group. Mr. Tata started the internationalization of Indian companies. Now, the contribution of Tata Group in the Indian economy is par measurement. Tata Group, under the leadership of Mr. Ratan Tata, established itself as a group with high values and ethics. Apart from the economic contribution, Mr. Ratan Tata has led the company towards welfare and philanthropy. Tata Group, by far, is one of the most influential business groups in India.

For all these, he has been dedicating his time and effort. Mr. Tata has been awarded for his contribution  to Indian and Indian society. Some of such recognitions are:

YearAward/RecognitionAwarded/Recognized by
2000 Padma BhusanGovernment of India
2004Medal of the Oriental Republic of UruguayGovernment of India
2005International Distinguished Achievement AwardB’nai B’rith International
2006Indian of the Year in BusinessCNN-IBN
2007Honorary Fellowship The London School of Economics and Political Science
2008Padma VibhushanGovernment of India
2009Award of ‘Grand Officer’ of the order of Merit if the Italian RepublicGovernment of Italy
2009Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British EmpireUnited Kingdom
2010Oslo Business for Peace AwardBusiness for Peace Foundation
2014Honorary Knight Grand Cross of The Order of the British EmpireUnited Kingdom

Ratan Tata is currently the Chairperson of Tata Trusts and Chairman Emeritus  of Tata Sons. His contribution has been inspiring to the present generation and generations to come.

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