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Making history

Don't waste time looking for the BTech or MBA stamps in Brotin Banerjee's CV.

Suman Layak | Print Edition: April 4, 2010

Don't waste time looking for the BTech or MBA stamps in Brotin Banerjee's CV. He doesn't have either, but is today the youngest CEO in a Tata company. Banerjee had wanted to become a lawyer but then changed his mind and was getting set for the IAS. He got selected for the Tata Administrative Service before his IAS exams.

As the first brand manager at Tata Chemicals, he made the Tata Salt brand bigger than the next four taken together. Then, he moved to Barista, in which the Tatas had a stake. "The challenge was to make people pay Rs 30 for coffee when they were used to paying Rs 3-4 at Udipi Cafes," he says.

Next, he revived THDC, the Tata housing outfit that had been in the doldrums, and won back for it the right to use the Tata name. His formula: joint ventures with landowners. At Tata Housing (as it is again called), challenging mindsets is one of his tough jobs. A sample: How can a Tata firm succeed in a non-transparent business like real estate?

Brotin Banerjee, 36, MD, Tata Housing Development Co.

  • EDUCATION: History graduate from St. Stephen's; MA in International Studies from JNU.
  • EXPERIENCE: Joined Tata Administrative Service in 1998. Worked in Tata Chemicals, Barista, and Tata Housing.
  • 'AHA' MOMENT: Many. Barista turning EBITDA-positive in 2004-05; Tata Housing breaking even in 2008; Tata Salt becoming the top brand.
  • MANAGEMENT STYLE: Freedom, but strict monitoring when it comes to results.

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