Ratan Tata – Tata Group’s CEO

Ratan Tata photo
Ratan N. Tata is the chairman of India’s largest conglomerate, the Tata Group, established by his family’s earlier generations. Tata is organized into seven divisions: engeneering, materials, chemicals, energy, NTIC, services and consumption goods.

Ratan Tata
was born in 1937, in Mumbai, India. The Tata family have been active in industry and philanthropy since the 19th century. The Tata Group, founded by Ratan’s great grandfather, Jamsetji Tata, is one of the largest private employers in India. JRD Tata, Ratan’s father, was the first Indian citizen to obtain a plane pilot’s license, and he is considered the father Indian aviation. In 1932, he founded Tata Airlines, which became Air India in 1946.
Ratan’s childhood was troubled as his parents divorced when he was 7 years old. He was raised by his grandmother. After the Campion School in Mumbai, he graduated in Architecture and Structural Engineering from Cornell University, New York, in 1962.
That same year, he joined the Tata Group to work in the family steel plant in Jamshedpur, where he shoveled limestone and handled the blast furnaces alongside other employees.
In 1971, Ratan was named Director-in-Charge of the NELCO (National Radio & Electronics Company Limited), a venture that was in dire financial difficulty. But with a lot of flair and despite JRD’s disapproval, he invested in developing high-technology products. The company climbed from a 2% market share to 20% in 1975. But the economic recession of 1975 and the confrontations between Tata with the unions took its toll on the venture.
In 1981,Ratan was appointed chairman of Tata Industries, the group’s other holding company, where he was in charge of transforming it into the group’s strategy think-tank and promoting new ventures in high-technology businesses.
Ratan took over as group chairman from JRD Tata in 1991, and since then has ushered in young managers pushing out the old guard. He reshaped the fortunes of the Tata Group, which today holds the largest market capitalization of any business on the Indian stock market. Ratan also introduced Tata Motors on the New York Stock Exchange.
In 2006, Ratan signed agreements with Italian car manufacturer Fiat and helped introduce the Italian cars the Indian market.
In December 2007, Ratan, who turned 70, launched the “peoples’ car,” officially the Tata Nano, at Auto Expo in New Delhi. It’s the world’s most inexpensively manufactured car and is sold for $2.522.

Carlos Slim – Telmex’s CEO

Carlos Slim Helú, the world’s second richest man, was born to Lebanese parents in Mexico City in January 1940.
Slim gained notoriety when he led a group of investors, including France Telecom and Southwestern Bell Corporation, in acquiring Telmex and Telnor from the Mexican government in 1990 during the presidency of Carlos Salinas de Gortari.
Today, Telmex operates 90 percent of Mexico’s telephone lines. The mobile company Telcel, also controlled by Slim, operates almost 80 percent of the country’s cell phones. And over the last five years, Slim’s wireless carrier, América Móvil, has purchased cell phone companies across Latin America, becoming region’s dominant company and counting on more than 100 million subscribers.
Forbes magazine, in March 2008, ranked Carlos Slim as the world’s second-richest person, behind Warren Buffet and in front of former winner Bill Gates.
Based on the value of his public holdings, Slim’s net worth is estimated $60 billion.
Slim told the Wall Street Journal recently that he credits his prowess and flair, his ability to discover investment opportunities, to the writings of futurist author Alvin Toffler.
It’s an intuition that gained him fame – and millions – in 1997, when he acquired 3 percent of Apple computer’s stock just before the company introduced its famous iMac computers.
In recognition of his flamboyant business trajectory, Slim has been awarded the Entrepreneurial Merit Medal of Honor from Mexico’s Chamber of Commerce. He also was voted C.E.O. of the Year in 2003 by Latin Trade magazine and C.E.O. of the Decade by the same magazine.

Lakshmi Mittal

Lakshmi Mittal photoLakshmi Narayan Mittal was born in 1950 in Rajasthan, India. to a poor and large family. He spent most of his childhood in the village until his family moved to Calcutta. There, his father, Mohan, became a partner in a steel company and eventually made fortune.

In 1969, Mittal graduated from St. Xavier’s College in Calcutta with a business and accounting degree.

Mittal started his

career with the family in the steel-making trade until 1976, when the Mittal family founded its own steel business. Mittal then developed the international division of the company, starting with the purchase of a bankrupt plant in Indonesia. In 1994, due to disagreements with his father and brothers, he took over all the international trade of the family’s steel business and branched out on his own.

In 2002, a British member of Parliament, Adam Price, made public a controversial link between Mittal and Prime Minister Tony Blair, an affair later referred as the Garbagegate or Cash for Influence. Through his Dutch Antilles-based company LNM, which gathers less than 1% of its workforce (estimated at more than 100,000) in the United Kingdom, Mittal sought Blair’s European influence in its bid to take over control of Romania’s state-owned steel industry. Price obtained a copy of the letter Blair addressed to the Romanian government, which insinuated that the privatization and sale of the firm to LNM might ease the process of Romania’s entry into the European Union.

In return, Mittal donated $245,000 to Blair’s Labour Party after the 2001 general elections.

Ever since 2005, Mittal has been reported as the wealthiest person in the U.K. And he is the 5th richest man in the world, according to Forbes magazine, worth more than $50 billion.

With Barkha.
With Vir Sanghvi.