Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Online Extra: Tata Unbound

A talk with Ratan N. Tata reveals his take on everything from Tata Group's expansion plans, to being overstretched, to choosing a successor

For the past four years, Ratan N. Tata has been racing to seize opportunities to establish the Tata Group, one of India's oldest and biggest conglomerates, as a major global player in everything from steel and cars to hotels and information technology services. Besides making big acquisitions such as the Anglo-Dutch steel giant Corus Group and the Ritz Carlton hotel in Boston, the Tata Group is plowing $28 billion over the next five years into capital investments in a range of industries at home.

But at 69, this also is a time for the visionary tycoon to start considering his legacy. In a surprisingly candid and introspective interview with BusinessWeek's Pete Engardio and Nandini Lakshman at Bombay House, the Tata Group's graceful, colonial-era headquarters in Mumbai, Tata discussed the formation of the group's global strategy and its major challenges. He also talked about his achievements, disappointments, and unfinished agendas. Excerpts follow: