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Ratan Naval Tata Biography

Business | 6-11 yrs | Reading Pod

Who is Ratan Naval Tata?

Ratan Naval Tata was born on the 28th of December, 1937. He is the present chairman of Tata Sons and therefore, Tata Group. He is also the chairman of major Tata companies such as Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Power, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Tea, Tata Chemicals, The Indian Hotels Company and Tata Teleservices.

Ratan Tata was adopted into the already famous Tata family who belonged to a prominent Parsi community. Ratan is the grandson of the Tata group founder Jamsedji Tata.

Schooling and education –

Ratan Tata started his school at Campion School and finished at Cathedral and John Cannon School both in Mumbai. He then went on to get a degree in architecture with structural engineering from Cornell University in 1962, and the Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School in 1975. Over at Harvard, he became a member of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity.

Returned to India

Ratan Tata returned to India in 1962 after turning down and offer with IBM, and started working on the shop floor at Tata Steel with other blue-collared employees, shoveling limestone and handling the blast furnace on the advice of J.R.D Tata.

IN 1981, JRD Tata stepped down as Tata Industries chairman, naming Ratan as his successor. He was heavily criticized for lacking experience in running a company of the scale of Tata Industries.

Chairman of the Tata group

In 1991, he was appointed group chairman of the Tata group. As group chairman he has been responsible for converting different Tata-affiliated companies into a cohesive company. He has been responsible for the acquisition of Tetley, Jaguar Land Rover and Corus which have turned Tata from a largely India-centric company into a global business, with 65% revenues coming from abroad. He is widely credited for the success of the Tata Group of companies, especially after the liberalization of controls after the 1990s.

Tata Group’s acquisition of Corus

In August 2007, Ratan Tata lead Tata Group’s acquisition of British steel maker Corus. At that time, this was the largest takeover of a foreign company by an Indian company, and resulted in Tata Group becoming the fifth largest steel producer in the world.

Bill & Melinda Gates foundation

Ratan Tata serves in senior capacities in various organisations across India and is also a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry. He also serves on the program board of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s India AIDS initiative.


Tata is set to retire in December 2012 to be succeeded by Cyrus Mistry, the 42-year-old son of Pallonji Mistry and managing director of Shapoorji Pallonji Group.

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