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Tata, Mittal, Nooyi among world's top 25 business heads

November 27, 2007 17:49 IST

India's top corporate leader Ratan Tata has been named by global business magazine Fortune as one of the top 25 most powerful business heads, along with steel tycoon L N Mittal and PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi.

The Fortune ranking closely follows a list by another global business publication Forbes, released earlier this month, that named India's richie-rich led by Mittal and Ambanis, but there was no mention of Ratan Tata.

In the Fortune list released on Tuesday, Tata has been named as the world's 23rd most powerful person in business, ahead of CEOs of international media and entertainment giant Walt-Disney and French luxury goods major LVMH.

PepsiCo chief Nooyi, who was named at the top of a separate Fortune list of world's most powerful business women for second year in a row last month, has been ranked at 22nd in the latest list, topped by Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs.

Mittal, largest shareholder and CEO of the world's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal, is ranked top among the three people of Indian origin. Ranked at 14th position in the list, Mittal's name figures ahead of CEOs of international giants like JPMorgan Chase, Hewlett-Packard, Boeing, BHP Billiton, Blackstone and Mexican business tycoon Carlos Slim.

Apple's Jobs is followed by media baron Rupert Murdoch (2nd), Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (3rd), Google's founder-CEO trio Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergei Brin (4th) and legendary investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett (5th).

"Some are empire builders. Others are hired guns. But if they truly have world-class oomph, they're on Fortune's subjective - yet really quite accurate -- list of the most powerful businesspeople in the world," the magazine said in its cover story of the latest issue.

About Tata -- only resident Indian on the list, Fortune said: "As head of one of India's most venerated family

businesses, Tata, 69, has unique stature. The Tata Group, which is one of India's largest conglomerates, includes India's largest software house, one of its most prestigious hotel chains (the Taj), and sprawling steelmaking operations, as well as leading players in consulting, wireless, and cable services."

"Since taking over in 1991, Tata has made numerous big-ticket deals. But his heart is set on a project closer to home: creating a $2,500 car that middle-class Indians can buy," the publication noted.

Terming Nooyi as "smart, irreverent and armed with a global perspective," the magazine said that she was the main architect of the dramatic reshaping of Pepsi that began in the mid-1990s.

About the India-origin steel czar, the magazine said that "had Lakshmi Mittal, 57, remained in India and joined the family steel company, odds are he'd merely be a prosperous local businessman."

"Instead he set out on his own and became the Andrew Carnegie of our era, with operations in more than 60 countries, 320,000 employees -- and a personal fortune of more than $40 billion. He built his empire on a bet that steel had a great future for someone who could achieve sufficient scale," it said.

"After purchasing former state-owned companies in Eastern Europe, Mittal bought into the United States in 2004 and last year won a bruising battle for Europe's Arcelor. Today his company is three times the size of its nearest competitor, and Mittal has become a symbol of globalisation," Fortune noted.

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