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Immigrant Profile: Ratan Tata

Background

Ratan Naval Tata, a major Indian industrialist, was born in Surat, India, on December 28, 1937, to Naval and Sonoo Tata. Naval Tata’s father was Jamsetji Tata, the founder of the Tata Group of companies. Ratan attended the Campion School and then the Cathedral & John Connon School in Mumbai.

Immigration to the United States

Tata entered the United States to attend the Riverdale Country School (from which he graduated in 1955) and then Cornell University (from which he graduated with a degree in agriculture in 1959). He began his first job with Tata Steel, a subsidiary of the Tata Group, shortly after.

Professional Background & Achievements

When he started at Tata Steel, he began with shoveling stones along with other manual duties. His experience with hard work and blue-collar workers provided him with a better understanding of the family business. He rose through the ranks of the company, eventually reaching the ranks of management in 1970. In 1991, he became the chairman of Tata Group as well as of its holding company, Tata Sons. He gained international recognition and prestige for the company. A number of innovative ideas and implementations created major financial success for the company. Once the Tata Group made its way to the New York Stock Exchange, the corporation became a global brand.

Eventually, the Tata Group made a number of acquisitions of companies such as Tetley, Jaguar Land Rover, and Corus. In the 21 years that he ran the company (retiring in 2012), revenues grew more than 40 times, and the company’s profit margin grew over 50 times.

Contributions to the U.S. Economy

Ratan Tata decided to retire on his 75th birthday and resigned his post of chairman of the Tata Group. He turned the keys over to Cyrus Mistry, who was the managing director of Shapoorji Pallonji Group. Tata is or has been a member of the board of directors of major American companies, including Alcoa, Mondelez International, and the East-West Center, as well as of the board of trustees of the University of Southern California, Cornell University, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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