Ratan Tata, who transformed the Tatas from a conventional corporate into a $ 100 billion global empire with high-profile acquisitions abroad retires today, ending his 50-year run in one of India's oldest and most respected business empires. He leaves behind a tough legacy for Cyrus Mistry to live upto.
Tata, who also turns 75 today, will hand over the reins to 44-year-old Cyrus Mistry, who had been chosen his successor in 2011 and formally appointed Chairman later. However, Ratan Tta will continue as Chairman Emeritus, without any specified duties. Tata is hanging up his boots after steering the group for 21 years as Chairman, after he succeeding the legendary JRD Tata. While JRD made Tata the Chairman unexpectedly in 1991, Mistry of the Shapoorji Pallonji group (having 18% share in Tata Sons, the holding company for the Tata group) was chosen by a five-member selection panel.
During Ratan Tata’s tenure, the group ventured into passenger cars with its Indica and Nano brands and also completed many high-profile cross-border acquisitions. In the process, it grew its revenues by 50 times to over Re. 500,000 crore, of which 60% comes from abroad. His dream of an airline could not materialise just because as per the hallowed Tata tradition, he never paid a bribe to get an aviation license.
He was behind the acquisition of global brands like Tetly, the steel maker Corus and Jaguar-Rover. His vision to transform the group into a multinational giant resulted in high profile acquisitions such as Tata Tea's takeover of UK brand Tetley for $ 450 million in 2000.
Born as Ratan Naval Tata in December 1937, he is the adopted great-grandson of Tata group founder Jamshedji Tata.By his own admission, he had come very close to marriage at least 4 times, but it just did not happen. Post-retirement, he plans to pursue his favourite oassions-- dogs, piano and philanthropy.