Until 1991, India was one of the most difficult countries to do business in. Very few organizations could come up and sustain themselves in the prevailing environment. The Tata group was one such organization. Former chairman of the group, Ratan Tata is one of the greatest leaders this country has seen. Despite being from an affluent family that owned a number of businesses, Ratan Tata did not take things for granted. He started his career on the shop floor of Tata Steel in Jamshedpur where he shoveled limestone and handled the blast furnace. This close proximity to the ground level workers helped him immensely later in his career. He became the Chairman of the Tata group in 1991. Under him, the group’s footprints spread to all parts of the world. The group’s presence has been established in more than 100 countries across six continents. The group is today India’s single most admired brand. As per a Forbes survey conducted in 2009, the Tata Group is ranked 11 globally in terms of reputation. During Ratan Tata’s tenure, the group further expanded its philanthropic activities.
Ratan Tata stepped down from his position in 2012. By this time, he had earned a number of accolades around the world. He was conferred with the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, India’s third and second highest civilian honors in 2000 and 2008 respectively. He has received honorary doctorates from numerous reputed institutions across the world. He has also been honored by the national governments of Italy, Singapore and Uruguay. In April 2014, he became only the fifth foreigner ever to be awarded an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen of Great Britain. ‘Ratan’ means jewel in Hindiand there is no doubt that Ratan Tata is one the most preciousjewels this country has produced.