Indian of the Year: Ratan Tata


January 29, 2007

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India | Individuals

Think India, think Tata. The visionary business house that grew up with independent India, driving down new highways, providing the nation its morning cup of tea and adding that vital pinch of salt to the Indian cuisine.

The Rs 80,000-crore company also provides for the steel in India’s business spine, just as Tata Consultancy Services has now become the new India’s software symbol.

Tata perhaps best exemplifies how one man’s vision can be carried forward with the same forward-looking approach.

It’s the success story of the legendary J R D Tata whose mantle was ably carried forward by Ratan Tata, who has been named the winner of CNN-IBN’s Businessman of the Year 2006.

If JRD was the builder, Ratan Tata is undoubtedly the transformer, smoothly taking the group from an old-economy giant into a nimble-footed long distance runner.

Tata dreams big and he dreams international. His dizzying acquisition spree started with the Tetley buyout in 2000 continued till in 2006 when he made 14 acquisitions worth $1.5 billion.

Today, he fights one of his toughest battles in trying to buy out steel giant Corus, a company three times his own.

If he makes the cut, it will be the most ambitious takeovers in the history of modRatan Tata took over as the group chairman in 1991, won over his critics and charted a modern professional path for the organization, which continues to inspire many till date.

“I have to some extent instituionalised rather than personalised Tatas, so that the institution can continue. We don’t have an institution that lives or dies with its CEO,” he says.

Ratan Tata is a legatee of a public-spirited Indian entrepreneurship, for whom serving the customer also means serving the Indian citizen.

The small-car factory in Singur in West Bengal has created controversy, yet a car worth Rs one lakh will surely be a boon to millions of Indians.

After all even the Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar learnt her brand of activism from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

Hence the award for Ratan Tata, the corporate leader for whom good business is always India’s business.ern business. “Corus fits in well with our sensibilities,” says Tata.

Original article here