Interesting facts about Ratan Tata

Born on Dec. 28, 1937, Ratan Naval Tata is the son of Naval Hormusji Tata and his first wife Soonoo Commissariat. Groomed by JRD Tata as his successor, he is credited with transforming a bloated group into a salt-to-software global conglomerate. Click through to know some interesting facts about him.

Ratan Tata's father was adopted from an orphanage by Lady Navajbai Tata after the death of her husband, Sir Ratanji Tata (1871-1918), who was the younger son of Tata Group founder Jamsetji Tata (1839-1904, pictured).

He was around 10 years old when his parents divorced. He and his younger brother, Jimmy, were then raised by their grandmother, Navajbai.

While he completed his schooling from the Cathedral & John Connon School in Bombay (now Mumbai), for further studies he enrolled at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, U.S., in 1955. Though he initially started studying engineering, as per his father's wishes, two years later, he took up architecture – completing both courses in under seven years in 1962.

He left a job offer from IBM after JRD Tata, the then-chairman of the Tata Group, convinced him to join the family business, which he did in December 1962.

At Tata Steel, which he joined in 1963, he initially handled the blast furnace section and shoveled limestone.

He failed in his very first managerial responsibility – National Radio and Electronics (Nelco). Even though he tried to turn it around as director-in-charge from the time he assumed the role in 1971, economic downturn forced its end. Similar was the fate of his second endeavor, Empress Mills.

On Mar. 25, 1991, he took over from JRD Tata as the chairman of Tata Sons and the Tata trusts. When asked if it was for his integrity that Ratan was chosen to lead the group, the senior Tata had said, "Oh no, I wouldn't say that; that would mean the others did not have integrity. I chose him because of his memory. Ratan will be more like me."

It was under his leadership that the group acquired some of the biggest international brands. In 2000, Tata Tea purchased Tetley, in 2007 Tata Steel acquired Anglo-Dutch steel giant Corus and in 2008 Tata Motors scripted history by buying British automobile manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover.

Following the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, in which the Taj Mahal Palace hotel was one of the prime targets, he set up the Taj Public Service Welfare Trust with R.K. Krishna Kumar, then vice chairman of Indian Hotels Company Ltd. The trust provides assistance to any Indian citizen affected by terrorist acts or natural disasters in India. A memorial bearing the names of all 31 employees and guests killed in the hotel was unveiled by Tata in 2009.

The Government of India honored him with the Padma Bhushan, the country's third-highest civilian honor, in 2000, and the Padma Vibhushan, which is the second-highest civilian honor, in 2008.

(Pictured) Receives the Padma Vibhushan from then-President Pratibha Patil in New Delhi on May 10, 2008.

In 2014, he became the first Indian to be conferred the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) since India became a Republic in 1950. In 2009, Queen Elizabeth II had honored him with the Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE). The same year he was also awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (pictured).

Like JRD Tata, Ratan Tata, too, is a qualified pilot. He completed his first solo flight at age 17. In February 2007, he became the first Indian to fly an F-16 fighter jet (pictured) during an airshow.

He is fond of cars and has an enviable collection of high-end luxury and sports vehicles, including Cadillac XLR, Maserati Quattroporte, Land Rover Freelander, two Jaguars and two Mercedes-Benz.

(Pictured) Views details of the La Ferrari hybrid model car after its world premiere presentation at the Geneva Motor Show on March 5, 2013.

He has invested in various start-ups across diverse businesses, including Ola, PayTM and NestAway. He also invested in Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi in April 2015.

By his own admission, Tata came close to marriage four times. “Each time I backed off in fear or for one reason or another,” he said in an interview to CNN International's Talk Asia.

He wanted to retire in 2002, at age 65, but the board of the Tata Sons decided otherwise and made him non-executive chairman. In 2005, the board decided that non-executive directors will not retire before they are 75, ensuring that Ratan Tata remains at the helm till 2012.

When he left in 2012, Tata Group revenue was 46 times more than it was in 1991. Net profit was up 51 times and market capitalization grew 33 times.

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item India: Interesting facts about Ratan Tata
Interesting facts about Ratan Tata
Ratan Tata is one of the most renowned Indian industrialists. Here are a few facts about him. India
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