June 4, 2020. At the invitation of the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), our Managing Partner Dr Aron Mifsud Bonnici joined the online panel of an Executive Forum with Mr Ravi Kant, Former CEO and Vice Chairman of Tata Motors, who gave a lecture on “Testing the Limits by Leading from the Back.”
Mr Ravi Kant has nearly 50 years of corporate experience in extractive, consumer durables and automobile industries. He spent 15 years at Tata Motors, where he served as CEO and Managing Director and later as Vice Chairman of the Board. He led Tata’s acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover and Daewoo and established Tata Motors Thailand and other companies, increasing Tata’s revenue from $1.5 billion to $39 billion (USD). Under his watch, Tata Motors launched the Tata Ace, a mini truck which nearly doubled the size of India’s commercial vehicle market, and the Nano, a compact car which serves as a case study in innovation. He has served as chairman of Tata Advanced Materials, Hispano Carrocera, Spain, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, UK Tata Marco Polo, Tata Thailand and Tata Daewoo, and as director for Tata Industries, Voltas, Vedanta Ltd. (one of the largest natural resource companies in the world) and Jaguar Land Rover.
Prior to Tata Motors, Mr Kant was a member of the board at Philips India. He currently serves on the board of Kone Ltd., one of the top elevator companies in the world, and Hawkins Cookers Ltd., a well-known consumer durables company. He also sits on the Advisory Board of Accenture India.
Mr Kant is an Industrial Professor at the University of Warwick and a Distinguished Professor at IIT Kharagpur. He has also served on the Advisory Board of CEIBS, where he is currently a Visiting Leader.
During the panel discussion, which was moderated by Prof. Ramakrishna Velamuri, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Department Chair (Strategy and Entrepreneurship), CEIBS, Dr Aron Mifsud Bonnici engaged with Mr Kant on analogies between the 2007-2009 financial crisis and the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tata Motors’s acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover in 2008 was a trialling moment for its leaders. Mr Kant shared his experience, professing the virtues of obtaining results by “leading from the back.”
The Executive Forum was attended by over 280 global leaders and executives and was hosted by CEIBS, whose MBA Programme has ranked in the top 25 of the Financial Times' annual global business school ranking for 16 consecutive years (2005-2020). The CEIBS Global EMBA Programme was #5 worldwide and was the highest ranked stand-alone programme in Asia in 2019.