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Ratan Tata and the Tata legacy

December 28, 2007
Ratan Tata turned 70 today (December 28, 2007). On this occasion, we take you through a nostalgic journey of the Tata Group through the ages.

Ratan Tata was born to Soonoo & Naval Hormusji Tata on December 28, 1937. He was brought up their grandmother Lady Navajbai after his mother moved out following a troubled marriage. He studied at the Campion School in Mumbai.

At the age of 15, he moved to the United States for further studies. He completed his graduation from Cornell University with a degree in Architecture and Structural Engineering. He has also completed a Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

Despite his wealth, Tata always kept a low profile. During his stint in the US, Tata had no qualms in doing odd jobs, he even washed dishes!

He joined the Tata Group in December 1962. In 1991, after more than 50 years at the helm, JRD Tata stepped down as the chairman of the Tata Group. Taking over from him was Ratan Tata, his nephew.

In 1998, Ratan Tata launched the Indica, which is India's first indigenously designed, developed and manufactured car. Pooh-poohed for getting into the passenger car segment, Ratan Tata turned the tables on the naysayers within a few years. Tata Motors' Indica and Indigo is two of the hottest selling cars in India.

Today, Tata is an indispensable part of the Tata group, striving for more glory year after year. If 2007 would be remembered for his acquisition of Corus, the biggest acquisition in the history of India Inc. He has also bid for Ford's marquee brands: Jaguar and Land Rover.

His pet project -- the Rs 1 lakh People's Car -- likely to be launched in mid-2008 is also certain to shake up the Indian car industry.

Ratan Tata has also initiated the restructuring of the vast Tata empire to reduce hierarchy, focus on profitable operations, and increase efficiency. The group is managed through holding company Tata Sons, which controls the Tata brand.

The Tata Group comprises 98 operating companies in seven business sectors: information systems and communications; engineering; materials; services; energy; consumer products; and chemicals.

Text: Rediff Business Desk

Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata. | Photograph: Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images
Also read: Ratan Tata: India's shining jewel
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