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In a dramatic announcement, nearly four years after taking over as head of the multi-billion automobiles-to-salt conglomerate, Cyrus Pallonji Mistry was “replaced” by the board of Tata Sons, the group’s holding company without any reasons being assigned. Mistry, chosen as Chairman of Tata Sons in November 2011, has been replaced by his predecessor Ratan Tata as interim Chairman. Here are the past chairmen of the Tata Group:
WATCH VIDEO: Cyrus Mistry’s Career Timeline
Jamsetji Tata, the first chairman of the Tata Group, was at the helm of the conglomerate since 1868 till his demise in 1904. He could realise only one of his four life goals by establishing the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, with the rest being achieved by his successors in form of Tata Iron & Steel Company (now Tata Steel Ltd), Indian Institute of Science Bengaluru, and Tata Hydroelectric Power Supply Company (now Tata Power Company Ltd).
Dorabji Tata took over as the 2nd chairman in 1904, and was instrumental in setting up of Tata Power and Tata Steel. He was also responsible for creation of Tata Trust, as well as the Lady Tata Memorial Trust, which did research in leukemia. Dorabji Tata died in 1932, shortly after his wife’s death in 1931, which had prompted him to set up the trust for cancer research.
Nowroji Saklatwala, the nephew of Jamestji Tata, started as an apprentice in one of its mills in 1889, and took over as the group’s first non-Tata chairman in 1932 following Dorabji’s death. During his tenure, Nowroji was responsible for several firsts in terms of labour reforms with the introduction of a profit-sharing scheme with employees, and raising the wages of the lowest-paid workers of temporary employees at the Tata Iron and Steel Company in Jamshedpur. Nowroji passed away in 1938.
JRD Tata, fourth chairman of the Group, took charge in 1938, and is deemed the pioneer of civil aviation in the Indian subcontinent. He entered the group as an unpaid apprentice in December 1925, and in 1929 joined the board of Tata Sons. JRD launched Tata Airlines in 1932, which later became Air India. He remained the chairman of the group till 1991, thus becoming the first Tata Group chairman to relinquish his position while being alive. He passed away in 1993.
Ratan Tata, fifth chairman of the Group, was named JRD Tata’s successor after the latter stepped down in 1991. He joined the group in 1961 on the shop floor of Tata Steel, and in the 21 years of his chairmanship of the Tata Group, revenues and profits of the group grew 40 times and 50 times, respectively. Ratan Tata is also well-known for the launch of India’s first cheap car Nano, as well as for the automotive company’s takeover of British giant Jaguar Land Rover. On turning 75 in 2012, he stepped down as chairman, naming Cyrus Mistry his successor.