Letter From The Editor: Goodbye Tata, Hello World!
very year, after we publish the much-awaited Forbes list of the 100 Richest Indians, I invariably get letters from readers enquiring why Ratan Naval Tata’s name is missing from our list. I’ve even had a few foreign journalists based in India and abroad call me to enquire whether the unique ownership model—where a set of trusts own 66 percent of Tata Sons—was for real.
This cover story by my colleague and our Senior Assistant Editor Prince Mathews Thomas is significant not only because it offers a never-before perspective on how the trusts have evolved—but also why they’re shortly set for a radical rethink.
On December 28 this year, when Ratan Tata turns 75, it will bring the curtains down on one of the most impactful tenures in India Inc. However, if you’re expecting Tata to hang up his boots and settle into a quiet life of retirement inside his newly built sea-facing mansion in Colaba in the southern tip of Mumbai, you could be in for a surprise.
Unknown to the world, Tata has been actively preparing for a plunge into the world of philanthropy. As he prepares to focus full-time on the trusts, this could well be a game-changer for Indian philanthropy, almost akin to the impact that Bill Gates had when he decided to focus on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, shortly after stepping down as CEO at Microsoft.
Tata’s formidable vision, global influence and business acumen will act as a huge shot in the arm for his family’s philanthropic trusts, but more importantly, it could serve as a role model for other Indian business families who’ve made billions and now need to find sustainable ways to give back to society.
Editor, Forbes India
Twitter id: @indrajitgupta