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Ode to Ratan Tata
As Ratan Tata gets to walk into the sunset, the enduring pictures in the collective psyche of the nation were his launch of Nano and of how he responded to 26/11.
THE LAST TATA to stand atop the Tata ship, Ratan brought to the table a gentleman like professionalism, belying the view people held in 1991 that he ascended the gaddi only because he was a Tata. 

Over the years, he has transformed the Tata Group to being largest private-sector outfit in India, accounting for 7 per cent of the stock market. Incidentaly, the Group pays 3 per cent of all of India’s corporate tax and 5 per cent of all its excise duty. In the process it has metamorphed into a major global player. 

It’s two decades since JRD Tata handed over the baton to Ratan; it’s now time to say goodbye and farewell to our gentleman who has featured every year (2003-2012) in India Today’s Hall of fame. 

During his long tenure, the Tata Group’s sales registered a 22 per cent CAGR with profit after tax registering a 22 per cent growth and market capitalisation a 24 per cent rise.  

The Group made 65 acquisitions. Tata Tea’s takeover of iconic UK brand Tetley, a company three times its size, in 2000, was then the biggest international takeover by an Indian company. In 2007, Tata Steel bought Corus, Europe’s second largest steelmaker, proving that Ratan Tata was willing to set stretch goals. 

A Promise is a Promise

History will remember Tata as the man who did the impossible. Building a car at a price of Rs 100,000. An off the cuff remark that he made to a foreign journalist that he was toying with manufacturing a car at sub 2500 USD was taken seriously by the media and Tata decided that he would honor the statement. ‘A promise is a promise’ is what he famously said. The common man who normally travels in a twowheeler or hangs gingerly in a public transport could now own a People’s Car. It’s another matter that the car hasn’t turned out to be a smashing success. Incidentally, he showed that he had the gall to shift lockstock- and-barrel when the West Bengal government put spokes on his Nano project. Overnight, the Singur plant was shifted to Gujarat.

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