Ratan Tata Biography


Ratan Tata is one of the most well-known and respected Indian businessmen. He served as the Chairman of the Tata Group from 1991 till 2012 and after four years came back in the same position in October 2016 for interim term. As a Mumbai-based conglomerate, he is also a member of the prominent Tata family of Indian industrialists and philanthropists.

Personal Life

Ratan Tata was born on 28 December, 1937 in Mumbai. When he was a child his parents separated and he was brought up by his grandmother Lady Navajbai. He went to Campion School in Bombay, Bishop Cotton School in Shimla and finished his schooling from Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai. He graduated with a degree in Architecture and Structural Engineering from Cornell University in 1962 and also did the Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School in 1975. He is also a member of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity of Yale University, United States.


In 1962, Ratan Tata began his career in the Tata group. At first he used to work on the shop floor of Tata Steel, shoveling limestone and handling blast furnace. In 1991, JRD Tata stepped down as the chairman of Tata Industries and named Ratan Tata as his successor. Under Ratan’s stewardship, Tata Tea attained Tetley, Tata motors attained Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Steel attained Corus. These triumphs turned Tata from a large India-centric company into a global business with 65% revenues from abroad. He also contributed in the development of Indica and Nano.

Ratan Tata has also served in various organizations in India and abroad. He is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry and he is also on the board of governors of the East-West Center, which is the advisory board of RAND’s Center for Asia Pacific Policy. He also serves on the program board of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s India AIDS initiative.

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in January 2000. He serves on the boards of several leading organizations, both in the public as well as the private sector in India. He is a member of the International Investment Council set up by the President of South Africa and serves on the programme board of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s India AIDS initiative. Ratan Tata is credited for leading Tatas’ successful bid for Corus, an Anglo-Dutch steel and aluminum producer, which was acquired for an estimated 6.7 billion by Tata Sons.

On 28 December 2012, Ratan Tata retired from the Tata group. It also happened to be his 75th birthday. Ratan Tata is succeeded by Cyrus Mistry, the son of Pallonji Mistry and the managing director of Shapoorji Pallonji Group.

He made a comeback in October 2016 after removing Cyrus Mistry. A selection committee has already been created with an aim to find a successor in another four months.

Awards and Achievements

  • Honorary Doctor of Business Administration by Ohio State University in 2001
  • Honorary Degree of Doctor of Technology by Asian Institute of Technology in 2004
  • Honorary Doctor of Science by University of Warwick in 2005
  • FIRST Magazine Award for Responsible Capitalism in 2006
  • Awarded the 26th Robert S. Hatfield Fellow in Economic Education by Cornell University in 2006
  • Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 2007
  • Honorary Doctor of Science by Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur in 2008
  • Honorary Doctor of Law by University of Cambridge in 2008
  • Recipient of the ‘Global Indian Award’ at the NASSCOM Global Leadership Awards in 2008
  • Ratan Tata was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2009
  • Business Leader of the Year by The Asian Awards in 2010
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws by Pepperdine University in 2010
  • Legend in Leadership Award by Yale Universityin 2010
  • Honorary Degree by The University of New South Wales in 2012
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by Government of Japan in 2012
  • Transformational Leader of the Decade by Indian Affairs India Leadership Conclave 2013
  • Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Lifetime Achievement by Ernst & Young in 2013
  • Honorary Doctor of Business Practice by Carnegie Mellon University in 2013
  • Honorary Doctorate by University of Amsterdam in 2013
  • Honorary Doctor of Business by Singapore Management University in 2014
  • Sayaji Ratna Award by Baroda Management Association in 2014
  • Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (GBE) by the United Kingdom Government in 2014
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws by York University, Canada in 2014
  • Honorary Doctor of Automotive Engineering by Clemson University in 2015
  • Sayaji Ratna Award by Baroda Management Association, Honoris Causa, HEC Paris in 2015
  • Commander of the Legion of Honour by Government of France in 2016.