Ratan Tata '59 (B.Arch. '62), was the chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, from 1991 until his retirement in December 2012, when he was conferred the honorary title of chairman emeritus. As chairman, Tata led all of the major Tata companies, including Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Power, Tata Global Beverages, Tata Chemicals, Indian Hotels, and Tata Teleservices. During his tenure, the group's revenues grew manifold, totaling more than $100 billion in 2011–12.
Tata serves on the board of directors of Alcoa. He is also on the international advisory boards of Mitsubishi Corporation, JPMorgan Chase, Rolls-Royce, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
He is associated with various organizations in India and overseas. In India, he is the chairman of the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, two of the largest private-sector promoted philanthropic trusts in India. He is also chairman of the Council of Management of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. More broadly, he is a member of the jury for the Pritzker Architecture Prize and serves on the board of trustees of Cornell University and the University of Southern California.
Tata received a B.Arch. degree from Cornell in 1962. He worked briefly with Jones and Emmons in Los Angeles before returning to India in late 1962. He completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1975.
The Government of India honored him with its second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2008. He has also received honorary doctorates from several universities in India and overseas.
In July 2014, Tata began his third term on the Cornell University Board of Trustees. He serves on the board's Academic Affairs, Student Life, and Development Committees. He was named Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012. He is a generous benefactor to the university and has created two significant endowments to support the Tata Scholarship for Students from India and the Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative.