Tata will stand alongside those of JN Tata and JRD Tata as one of the great figures in the group’s history.
Born on December 28, 1937
Ratan Naval Tata is the adoptive great grandson of Tata Group founder Jamshetji Tata. His father Naval Tata was adopted by Sir Ratan Tata from the family of a distant relative. Ratan Naval Tata was the eldest son of Naval Tata from his first marriage to Soonoo Commisariat. Soonoo and Naval separated when Ratan N Tata was seven years old. Ratan and his brother were raised by grandmother Lady Navajbai.
Begins schooling in Bombay — 1940s
Ratan Tata began his schooling at South Bombay’s Campion School. Followed by a stint at Bishop Cotton in Shimla and finished off back in Bombay at Cathedral and John Connon School.
Goes to the US for higher studies — Late 1950s
After finishing school, Ratan Tata went to Cornell University in the US to study BS in architecture with structural engineering. He graduated in 1962 and returned a few years later to the United States to complete the Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School in 1975.
Joined family business – 1962
After completing his graduate degree in Cornell, Tata worked briefly in Jones and Emmons, an architecture firm in Los Angeles. In late 1962, Tata returned home to join Tata Steel, on the advice of then chairman of the group JRD Tata. Initially, Ratan Tata worked on the shop floor of Tata Steel’s Jamshedpur plant shovelling limestone and handling the blast furnace.
Began managerial career at Tata Group — 1971
Having served at various positions in different group companies, Ratan Tata’s managerial career at the Tata Group kicked off when he was appointed the director-in-charge of National Radio and Electronics Company (NELCO) which sold radios and televisions.
Turbulent times — 1971-1974
In an era of licence-permit raj, Ratan Tata struggled to put the NELCO business back on track. Critics said he was out of depth. Barely 2% market share and mounting losses slowed the turnaround of the company. Just when Tata managed to put things right at NELCO,