Tata Steel veteran Dr Jamshed J Irani, also known as the Steel Man of India, passed away on late Monday night at the age of 85. Tata Steel called Irani a “visionary leader” in its release and noted, “He will be fondly remembered as a visionary leader who led Tata Steel from the forefront during India’s economic liberalisation in the early 1990s and immensely contributed to the growth and development of the steel industry in India.”
During this period, Irani focused on reinventing Tata Steel with a focus on quality and customer satisfaction, while becoming the lowest-cost steel producer in the world with quality that could compete in the international market.
What we know about Dr Jamshed J Irani
Dr Irani worked with Tata Steel for over 43 years and retired from the board of Tata Steel in June 2011. The industry maven started his career with British Iron and Steel Research Association in the UK’s Sheffield in 1963. He then came to India to join the Tata Iron and Steel Company (now Tata Steel) in 1968 as an assistant to the Director in-charge of Research and Development.
After this, Irani went on to become General Superintendent in 1978, General Manager in 1979 and the President of Tata Steel in 1985. Later, he was promoted to the designation of the Joint Managing Director of Tata Steel in 1988 and Managing Director in 1992 before his retirement in 2001.
Retirement did not mean hanging boots for Irani since he was on the Board of Tata Steel and was a non-executive director from 2001 to 2011. Apart from this, he also served as a director of several Tata Group companies including Tata Motors and Tata Teleservices.
He was also instrumental in setting up the Tata Education Excellence Program in 2003 to improve the quality of academic facilitation adopted from the Malcolm Bridge Performance Excellence criteria.
He was appointed as the National President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) from 1992-93. The Government of India appointed him as the Chairman of the Expert Committee for formation of the new Companies Act of India in 2004. Apart from this, he was a recipient of several awards like International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1996 and an Honorary Knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II the following year for contributions to Indo-British trade and cooperation.
He was also conferred the Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civilian awards in India, in 2007 for his contributions to the industry. Dr Irani was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Government of India in 2008 for his services in metallurgy.
Irani was born on June 2, 1936 to Jiji Irani and Khorshed Irani and completed his Bachelors of Science Degree from Science College, Nagpur in 1956. He then went on to complete his Master of Science in geology from the Nagpur University in 1958. Later, he went to the UK’s University of Sheffield to secure a Masters in Metallurgy in 1960 and a PhD in Metallurgy in 1963.
He is survived by his wife Daisy Irani and three children Zubin, Niloufer and Tanaaz.
Also read: Jamshed J Irani, the Steel Man of India, passes away at 85
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