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Jamshed J Irani: ‘The Steel Man of India’ Passes Away at 86

Padma Bhushan awardee Irani retired from the board of Tata Steel in June 2011, leaving behind a legacy of 43 years.
jamshed j irani

Jamshed J Irani.Image Courtesy: NDTV

New Delhi: Jamshed J Irani, known as the steel man of India, died in Jamshedpur late Monday night, according to Tata Steel. He was 86.

"The Steel Man of India passes away. It is with profound grief that Tata Steel informs of the demise of Padma Bhushan Dr Jamshed J Irani," Tata Steel said in a statement.

He passed away on October 31, 2022 at 10 pm at TMH (Tata Main Hospital) in Jamshedpur, it said.

Irani retired from the board of Tata Steel in June 2011, leaving behind a legacy of 43 years, which won him and the company international acclaim in various fields.

He is survived by his wife Daisy Irani and his three children, Zubin, Niloufer, and Tanaaz.

"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," Tata Steel said.

Condoling the demise of Irani, Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran said Irani was a quintessential Tata man.

"He was a towering corporate personality whose contribution to the steel industry was immense. Dr Irani will be deeply missed by all of us at Tata Group and we pray for his departed soul," he said.

Born on June 2, 1936 in Nagpur to Jiji Irani and Khorshed Irani, Irani completed his BSc from Science College, Nagpur in 1956 and MSc in Geology from the Nagpur University in 1958.

He then went to the University of Sheffield in UK as a J N Tata scholar, where he secured a Masters in Metallurgy in 1960, and a PhD in Metallurgy in 1963.

He started his professional career with the British Iron and Steel Research Association in Sheffield in 1963. He returned to India to join The Tata Iron and Steel Company (now Tata Steel), as it was then known, in 1968, and joined the firm as Assistant to the Director in-charge of Research and Development.

He went on to become General Superintendent in 1978, General Manager in 1979, and President of Tata Steel in 1985. He became Joint Managing Director of Tata Steel in 1988, and Managing Director in 1992 before retiring in 2001.

He joined the Board of Tata Steel in 1981 and was also a Non-Executive Director from 2001 for a decade. Besides Tata Steel and Tata Sons, Irani also served as a Director of several Tata Group companies, including Tata Motors and Tata Teleservices.

He also held the post of National President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for 1992-93.

Irani was conferred several honours, including his appointment as International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1996 and an Honorary Knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997 for his contributions to Indo-British Trade and Co-operation.

He was conferred the Padma Bhushan in 2007 for his contribution to the industry.

Tata Steel CEO and MD T V Narendran said Irani transformed the company in the nineties and made it one of the lowest cost steel producers in the world.

"He helped build a strong foundation on which we grew in the subsequent decades. He led with courage and conviction and was a role model and mentor for many in Tata Steel then and now. The employees of Tata Steel past and present are indebted to his leadership during turbulent times," he said.

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