Business Today

The Ratan Tata I Knew: 'So where do you keep the washing machine?'

Tata Housing Development Company CEO Brotin Banerjee speaks to Suman Layak and gives an insight into Ratan Tata, the leader.

Brotin Banerjee | January 28, 2013 | Updated 12:04 IST

In my limited interactions with Mr Ratan Tata, I have seen an amazing ability to foresee things and trends before they happen. And then there is his ability to motivate people to take the plunge.

I have also seen an ability to look at the big picture and at the same time go into the details of a proposal. For instance, when we would present him our project plans or even floor plans, he would ask questions on the distance between two buildings and how are we were addressing privacy concerns of the residents. He would also ponder over how to make the residences more usable at night.

When we were working on low-cost housing, Mr Tata would ask about how we could make flats more liveable and maximise space - he would ask questions like where would one keep a study table or where the washing machine would go.

Along with such details he was able to bring expertise from other industries into our business. He spoke about how we could replicate the robotic car assembly to build houses fast, with contour crafting technology that uses a robotic arm - an overhead crane that moves the concrete mixture. His ability to grasp complex issues very fast is also amazing.

At the same time, he remains a very down-to-earth person and what comes across in personal interactions is his humility and his ability to be respectful to even a stranger.

(As told to Suman Layak)

Brotin Banerjee is the Chief Executive Officer of Tata Housing Development Company Ltd and is among the youngest CEOs in the group today. In the past, he also led Barista till the time the Tatas were investors in the group.

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