Ratan Tata the former chairman of the Tata group is undoubtedly one among the most popular personality in India today for the educated young generation and the budding entrepreneurs of the country. This is mostly because of his contributions towards the social causes in the country, his simplicity of life, and the empathy he has towards the lesser privileged and disadvantaged lot.
Ratan Naval Tata, born in 1937 was the son of Naval Tata who was the adopted son of Ratanji Tata, from a Parsi Orphanage, in Mumbai, India. Ratan Tata was the pet of his grandmother and he had an immaculate bonding with her.
He graduated from Cornell University in Architecture and later on returned to India as his grandmother fell ill. After his grandmother’s death, Ratan Tata joined Tata steel in Jamshedpur as an intern, in an attempt to be useful to the family and to get familiarized slowly with the family business.
His internship days
During this time in the Jamshedpur steel plant, he interacted with the workers who were at the lowest levels from which has developed the empathy that he nurtures to this date as one among his biggest virtues, in spite of being the head of a multi-billion dollar business empire. During the time he mostly used to walk to work, when he had a chance to interact with the workers and listened out to their problems at work which he was able to bring attention to by putting it up with the management.
The Chairman of Tata Group
In 1991 Ratan Tata took over as chairman of Tata group from JRD Tata, a move that was criticized and unwelcome by most in the company and industry circle. After he took over as the chairman of Tata group there was an incident of a strike in one of the factories and a lot of violence ensued as a result and Ratan Tata himself stayed back in the plant for 4 days trying to appease the workers giving them confidence.
Ratan Tata was the kind of boss who was approachable to any worker and the empathy he held towards the workers and their problems tremendously increased the morale among the workers for the company. This resulted invariably in increased productivity, work satisfaction, lesser strikes, and in turn more dividends to the owners.
A revolution in the Automotive industry
It was his idea to manufacture a car that had the space and practicality of an Ambassador car but the refinement of a Japanese car and Tata Indica happened which was quite a breakthrough in the car market especially in the commercial segment. Then it was again his idea to provide the cheapest car in the world and thus Tata Nano happened.
The Mergers and the Growth
The historical mergers such as the JLR (Jaguar and Land Rover) with Tata Motors, Tetley with Tata tea, and Corus with Tata Steel were all his initiatives that catapulted the group to vastly new dimensions, especially the revival of the Tata Motors into more modern capable world-class automobiles after its collaboration with JLR. Today Tata Motors produces the most selling cars in the country and is appreciated widely for its quality and the value for money that it provides especially to the relatively smaller car owners. Under his leadership that the TATA group became the most profitable as he turned around the revenues from $ 5.7 billion when he took over back in 1991 to an astounding figure of $103 Billion by the year 2016.
An investor for startups with a social cause
Recently he has been spending more time and effort in supporting exciting startups in the country. Ratan Tata has invested in a variety of startups. His investments are proven to grow into behemoths in their fields over time. One example is Ola Cabs.
Ratan Tata's investment provides a boost to startups in terms of visibility, funding, and brand creation. He believes that the future of India is vested with its youth and his vision is to handhold and support young entrepreneurs and their startups to the level where they can in turn provide employment and training opportunities for the youth in the country.
Ratan Tata is rightly referred to as the biggest and most empathetic ‘Social Entrepreneur’ the country has ever seen.