Ratan Tata India’s most powerful CEO, Cyrus Mistry debuts at No. 15

Mumbai-Ratan-Tata-Chairman-Tata-Sons-and-Cyrus-Mystry-Deputy-Chairman-of-Tata--Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata heads the ET-Corporate Dossier ranking of India Inc’s Most Powerful CEOs for the fourth year running.

Set to retire by the end of the year, Tata will leave a vacancy at the top, just as former Infosys chairman NR Narayana Murthy dropped off the list of Most Powerful CEOs only when he ceased to be a chief executive.

This year’s ranking includes Cyrus Mistry for the first time, at No. 15, by virtue of his appointment as vice-chairman and chairman designate of Tata Sons. The annual ranking includes a few other major changes as well, owing mainly to the tumultuous environment that has left several business houses severely mauled.

While Mukesh Ambani has managed to retain his position at second place, brother Anil has fallen six positions to 11.

Sunil Mittal has had an even more drastic fall, to 16th position from No. 3 last year, mirroring the state of the telecom sector.

Kumar Mangalam Birla has, however, not let his problems over the 2G issue eclipse his success in the other sectors, such as retail. The 500 senior executives interviewed by IMRB for the survey have placed him third in the power rankings, up from seven last year.

Vijay Mallya has been ejected from the top 10, along with fellow MP Naveen Jindal. Mallya and Jindal have been ranked at 43rd and 17th positions, respectively. Azim Premji has remained rock steady at No. 4 while the fifth position is occupied by banker Chanda Kochhar, who is not only India Inc’s Most Powerful Woman but also the list’s top professional CEO.

After retiring from ICICI Bank, KV Kamath appears in a new avatar in the top 10 this year – as executive chairman of Infosys. The other non-promoter CEO in the top 10 is L&T’s AM Naik, who has climbed a massive 23 positions this year, from 30 to seven.

The list also features a ranking of global Indian business leaders, with London-based LN Mittal at the top, and Indra Nooyi of Pepsi-Co and Nikesh Arora of Google at No. 2 and 3, respectively. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen heads the separate ranking of global thought leaders.

Ratan Naval Tata

Chairman, Tata Sons

Rank: 1

Also known as: India’s ‘most eligible bachelor’, even at 75

Theatre of Operations: IT, Communications, Engineering, Materials, Chemicals, Services, Consumer Products, Energy – all with global footprints

Did you know that: Upon graduating, he turned down an offer from IBM on the advice of JRD Tata

Started his career with: Tata Steel, on the shopfloor

Leadership style: Aloof and understated, but always on the ball

Favourite Allies: His German Shepherds

Famous Quote: "I don’t believe in taking right decisions. I take decisions and then make them right"

Thorn in his side: His connection with the 2G spectrum scam

If he weren’t leading a $71 billion conglomerate, he’d be: Flying planes

Family: Brother Jimmy, half-brother Noel and three half-sisters

Latest project: Pouring $15 million into a project researching water as fuel

Exit Strategy: Cyrus Pallonji Mistry will take charge from December 2012

Farewell Note: This will be RNT’s last appearance on CD’s ‘Most Powerful CEO’ list