Children: JRD Tata
Date of Death: 26/08/1926
- Ratanji Dadabhai Tata (RD Tata) was an Indian Industrialist and businessmen who played a major role in the success of the Tata Group. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Tata Steel and also an Executive Partner at Tata Sons which made it a great offering Support during your struggle phase. He was the proud father of JRD Tata who took the Tata group to new heights.
- Ratanji Dadabhai Tata was born in a Parsi priestly family. He was the first cousin of Tata Group founder Jamsetji Tata and had no siblings. He completed his early education at Cathedral & John Connon School, Bombay and later went to Elphinstone College, Bombay for his graduation. After graduation, he decided to go to Madras to pursue a course in agriculture.
- After completing his education, he joined his father’s business and started working in his firm Tata & Co. He was sent to Hong Kong by his father to handle the opium trade in China for Tata & Company. After his father’s death in 1876, he continued to work in the firm and took full charge of it in 1883. The firm was making losses when he took over the leadership and he soon made it profitable with his skill and ability.
- After seeing his performance in business, Jamsetji Tata was impressed by his work and offered him to join Empress Mills in 1884.
When RD joined Tata Empress Mills, it was headed by Sir Bezonji Dadabhai Mehta, who handled the technical and managerial aspects of the mill. RD got involved and started looking into the financial aspects of it.
- He was also given the opportunity to set up a ginning factory with Dorabji Tata in Yavatmal district. He was also given the responsibility of looking after the financial aspects of Swadeshi Mills, which at that time was a low performing unit of Tata. He worked hand-in-hand with Dorabji Tata to drive each of these business units to success.
- He later went to Hong Kong to take over Tata & Company and strived for its success. He proved his expertise by opening new branches dealing in rice and silk in Shanghai and Kobe. He further expanded the business by setting up his branches in Paris and New York, and both these branches dealt with pearls and silk.
- RD Tata met Suzanne (Soonie) Brierre, a French woman, while on a business trip to Paris. They liked each other and dated for a while. In 1902, they finally married and spent most of their time living in France.
- RD Tata had five children with Suzanne Briar and they were Dorab, Sayla, Jimmy, Jehangir and Rodabeh.
- In 1904, Jamsetji Tata died but RD Tata continued to work for Tata & Sons. He supported Jamsetji’s sons in fulfilling Jamsetji’s dream of setting up the Tata Steel Company. With the success of this company, its housing area was named Jamshedpur. Three years later, in 1907, Tata & Company was also merged with Tata & Sons, and the name of the new company was changed to Tata Sons & Company.
- The Tata Steel Company, a unit of Tata Sons and Company, supplied steel to the British for the First World War. When the war ended, huge quantities of steel waste were dumped into India from Britain and Belgium. This resulted in a serious business crisis for Tata Steel and became so important that the company did not have enough funds to pay its employees. that was the time when Ratanji Tata, Dorabji Tataand RD Tata worked together to tackle the situation and save the business from serious damage.
- In 1917 the name of Tata Sons & Company was changed to Tata Sons Limited. RD Tata continued to work for the success of the Tata Group from the Bombay Head Office, overseeing its financial and business aspects.
- He was a member of the Imperial Legislative Council and made great efforts to protect the iron and steel industry. Because of his association with Japan that developed after his visit in 1890, he played a major role in establishing India-Japan trade relations. As a result, the Emperor of Japan awarded him the highest honor of the Third Order, the Rising Sun.
- He was a great father and gave valuable advice to his children. In 1922, he wrote a letter to his son JRD Tata about building good habits and advising him to preserve the letters for future references and take care of everything that seemed important.
- RD Tata died on 26 August 1926 in Hardlot, France.
- He was a visionary personality who helped Jamsetji’s sons achieve their father’s dreams of setting up a hydroelectric plant, setting up an iron and steel project and starting a research university. It is because of his contribution to the Tata group that people still remember him as the great industrialist of Indian history.