Ratan Naval Tata was born on December 28, 1937, in Bombay (now Mumbai), an Indian businessman who became chairman (1991 – 2012 and 2016 – 17) of the Tata Group, a Mumbai-based conglomerate.
Ratan Tata was the Chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group, from 1991 until his retirement on December 28, 2012. He was also chairman of the major Tata companies, including Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Power, Tata Global Beverages, Tata Chemicals, Indian Hotels, and Tata Teleservices. Becoming the Chairman of the Tata Group in 1991 in his 21, he brought international recognition for the Tata Group.
Now retired from the corporate sphere, he retains the chairmanship of the Tata Trusts. The trusts hold around 66 percent of the equity capital of Tata Sons Limited, the holding company of the Tata Group.
A member of a prominent family of Indian industrialists and philanthropists. He holds a Bachelors’s degree in Architecture from Cornell University, USA, and has pursued an Advanced Management Program from the Harvard Business School, USA.
Under his leadership, the revenues of the Tata Group grew more than 40 times. The profits abounded by over 50 times. The company that made only $5.7 billion in 1991 made around $103 billion in 2016.
Ratan thinks that ‘Philanthropy’ can be seen in different perspectives, earlier ‘philanthropy’ was to develop institutions, charitable hospitals, etc. whereas, now it’s more about nation-building.
Tata is a supporter of education, medicine, and rural development, and is considered a leading philanthropist in India. More than 65% of his shares are invested in charitable trusts.
Tata Education and Development Trust, a philanthropic affiliate of the Tata Group, endowed a $28 million Tata Scholarship Fund that will allow Cornell University to provide financial aid to undergraduate students from India.
In 2010, Tata Group companies and Tata charities donated $50 million for the construction of an executive center at Harvard Business School. The hall was named Tata Hall.
In 2014, the Tata Group gave ₹950 million to IIT, Bombay, the largest donation received in its history, and formed the Tata Center for Technology and Design to develop design and engineering principles suited to the needs of people and communities with limited resources.
This year, he pledged ₹1,500 crores to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ratan Tata set a perfect example of generosity and leadership during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Unarmed, he stood all alone outside the Taj hotel and supervised the activities to help the victims. He showcased his humane gesture by personally visiting the families of all the 80 employees who were killed or injured.
He is a member of the Indian Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry. He is the president of the Court of the Indian Institute of Science and chairman of the Council of Management of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
The Government of India honored Mr. Tata with its second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2008 and Padma Bhushan (2000). He has also received honorary doctorates from several universities in India and overseas.