Ratan Tata receives honorary degree from Warwick University
21 July, 2005: Tata group chairman and leading industrialist
Ratan Rata has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Warwick.
Professor Lord Bhattacharya, founder and director of the University of Warwick’s Warwick Manufacturing Group, who has known Mr Tata for many years, said: “Ratan Tata’s modesty and lack of ostentation belie his standing as one of the world’s leading business figures. He is a man of enormous humanity, a renaissance man. He possesses great business vision and acumen. He has transformed the Tata Group and is a standard bearer for Indian business on the world stage. I am delighted that the University has chosen to honour him with this Doctorate.”
Ratan Tata’s early passion was for architecture, receiving a BSc from Cornell University in Architecture in 1962. He also completed the Advanced Management Program conducted by Harvard University in 1974-75. Over the past 14 years, he has applied all his vision, flair and skill to the transformation of the Tata Group, an icon of Indian industry. In the process, he has turned “one of India’s most stodgy conglomerates into a global business player”, said Forbes Magazine on naming him Asian Businessman of the Year for 2004.
Managing the Tata Group represents a huge challenge. The Group has operations in more than 40 countries across six continents, exporting goods and services to 140 nations, with revenues in last year of £10 billion and employing some 220,000 people. As well as being India’s largest company, Tata is also among the most respected. The Group sets a very high standard of business ethics and is well known for its commitment to corporate social responsibility. Indeed when the terrible tsunami struck in December, Ratan Tata took personal charge in overseeing the Group’s relief operations.
Ratan Tata was appointed chairman of Tata Sons, the apex company of the Tata Group, in 1991. He has streamlined the group, focusing it on a series of key growth sectors and leading it into new industries, such as passenger car manufacture and telecommunications services. During this period, he has at different times held the chairmanship of major Tata companies including Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Power, Tata Tea, Tata Chemicals and Indian Hotels.
He is also chairman of two of the largest philanthropic undertakings in India. Tata Group is unique in that nearly two thirds of the equity of the parent firm, Tata Sons Ltd., is held by philanthropic trusts endowed by Sir Dorabji Tata and Sir Ratan Tata, sons of the Tata Group founder Jamsetji Tata, who began the family business in the 1860s. Through these trusts, Tata Sons gives away on average between 8 to 14 percent of its net profit every year.
Ratan Tata is a member of the central board of the Reserve Bank and of the Prime Minister's Council on Trade and Industry. In 2000, the government of India honoured Mr Tata with its supreme award, the Padma Bhushan. Internationally Ratan Tata is a member of the international advisory boards of the Mitsubishi Corporation, the American International Group, and is also a member of the board of trustees of the Ford Foundation.
He also serves on the International Investment Council set up by the president of the Republic of South Africa, the Asia-Pacific advisory committee to the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange, the board of governors of the East-West Center, the advisory board of RAND's Center for Asia Pacific Policy, and the programme board of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's India AIDS initiative.