But, it should also be noted, that two of the major acquisition moves in recent years have been high on risk and uncertain on returns. The acquisition of Corus by Tata Steel and the acquisition of Land Rover and Jaguar by Tata Motors were met with skepticism by business analysts. Especially, the drain them imposed on the financial resources of the group is of high magnitude. It will be after many years from now the merits and demerits of these big deals will be realized. While his critics were right in being skeptical about these big moves, one should appreciate Ratan Tata for standing by his stated philosophy on risk (www.economist .com, 2007). Moreover, while he may have risked the financial prospects for Tata Steel and Tata Motors in the future, there is no doubt about the personal legacy that he will leave behind. To elaborate further, in evaluating the leadership of Ratan Tata, it is important to take into account his philanthropic inclination. Despite being a profit-driven enterprise, the Tata group stands out from the rest in terms of its contribution to the greater common good of Indian society. Two of the most prominent charitable institutions in India were founded by the Tata family. What makes this exercise of goodwill more impressive is that they were kept running even during the most acute periods of economic recessions. No other major business house, either in India or abroad, would have jeopardized its business interest or catered to public interest. While this charitable tendency runs down generations, starting with Jamshetji Tata, special credit has to be given to Ratan Tata for accommodating it during dire economic times (www.forbes.com, 2005).
Moreover, some of the apparent business decisions were based on social concerns on his part. The widely known anecdote behind the conception of Nano (the world’s cheapest car that costs only Rs.100,000) is a further testimony to the values promoted by Ratan Tata. On a rainy day in Mumbai, Ratan Tata was moved by the sight of a family of four traveling precariously on a bike. Then and there he decided that a safer alternative has to be offered to the Indian middle class. And the Nano car is the product of this thought. As Nano was unveiled last year, it met with stupendous public reception, as the first installment of cars was booked in record time. Even analysts were impressed with the efficiency and reasonable comfort offered by the Nano, making it a dream come true for the Indian middle classes. Again, as analysts rightly point out, it will be many years of sustained sales of Nano, before Tata Motors will show impressive profits. This also means that the shareholders in Tata Motors can only hope to see moderate returns on their investment in the medium term. But what emerges from these risky ventures on part of Ratan Tata is the fact that he always puts the social good ahead of immediate profits. And in this respect, he really does stand out from the rest of Indian business community (Business India, 2001).
On a more critical note, as his detractors have repeatedly pointed out, Ratan Tata has failed to bring greater representation of women in the top brass of the group. Despite him being an inspirational leader and having been responsible for shaking up the top management in his first few years as Chairman, this failure will be a blotch on his otherwise impressive resume. Similarly, while Ratan Tata is credited with rightsizing the various companies under his reign and bringing renewed focus on innovation and change, some commentators still feel that the Tata group lacks a compact business portfolio and that it has its presence in too many business domains. This too might come across as a small negative point in what is an exemplary career so far. And this complaint is not likely to be set right in the future too, as the group plans for more expansion, both in terms of newer markets and newer business verticals. (Talgeri & Srinivasan, 2008)