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“An Influential personality”: the contributions of RK Krishna Kumar in the global success of Tata Group

by Riya Mishra

Date & Time: Jan 21, 2023 3:00 PM

Read Time: 3 minute


Recently, on January 1st, the nation sadly lost one of its most talented strategists. Sir RK Krishnakumar was a giant in the world of business and one of the most respected figures in the Tata group of companies. Krishnakumar was born into a family of responsible providers in Tellicherry, Kerala, and was an exceptionally well-performing student. After completing his education as a top ranker, he began his career with Tata Motors in 1963. With utmost dedication for his work he slowly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the managing director of Tata Motors Ltd. But who was this highly respected long-time businessman and what made him an influential figure? Let’s find out.

Who was RK Krishnakumar?

A long-time veteran of the Tata group, RK Krishnakumar played an instrumental role in the development and growth of the company. From humble beginnings, Kumar started his career after joining the capable Tata Administrative Services back in 1963.

In his 50 years of service to the company and its stakeholders, he worked in top positions across multiple companies under Tata sons. He retired from Tata group in 2013 but continued to serve as a senior advisor to the group until his unfortunate demise on the 1st of January, 2023.

Throughout his career, Krishnakumar was known for his strong work acumen and strategic thinking. As an excellent strategist and crisis manager, he rigorously worked behind the scenes to fix any problems that arose out of miscalculations and unforeseen circumstances and helped to make Tata Sons one of the leading service providers in India, as well as globally.

He was also a champion of social responsibility and was deeply committed to using business as a force for good. In recognition of his contributions to business and society, Krishnakumar received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career, including India's prestigious Padma Shri award.

Sir RK Krishnakumar was a remarkable man who believed in giving back to society. He will be remembered as a visionary who along with Sir Ratan Tata helped shape the 
Tata group into a global leader.

The contributions of RK Krishnakumar to Tata Group’s overall success

Since its inception in 1868, Tata Group has been one of the most prominent and successful conglomerates in India. Throughout the years, it has relied on the expertise of several key individuals who have helped contribute to its overall success.

One such individual has been RK Krishnakumar, who served as an important member of the board at Tata sons, beginning in 2002.

Krishnakumar started his lifelong working relationship with Tata sons in 1963 after joining Tata Administrative Services. Since then the pioneer went on to hold various 
positions of influence across different businesses within the Tata group.

He served as the vice-president in ’82 and later as the joint managing director before becoming managing director of Tata consumer products. In ’97 Kumar sir served as divisional head for Tata group’s hospitality division, Indian Hotels Company, which also includes the Taj chain of hotels and resorts.

He went on to serve as the Division head for the next five years till 2002. That year he relinquished his post and became a key member of the board at Tata sons till 2003 when he re-joined Indian Hotels Company, this time however, as managing director and vice-chairman.

During his tenure, he was responsible for consolidating and strengthening the operations of all the Tata companies he served with utmost dedication. He also spearheaded several strategic initiatives that led to significant improvements in performance and growth across all businesses.

Under Krishnakumar’s leadership, Tata Sons became one of the most profitable and well-run group companies in India. His contributions are widely recognized within and outside of Tata Group, and he is considered a driving force behind its current success.


A close confidant of Sir Ratan Tata, RK Krishnakumar was widely recognized for his contributions to the Tata group of companies and was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India's highest civilian honors, in 2009. He will be remembered as a visionary leader and an exemplary corporate citizen who served multiple key positions and felt almost irreplaceable in light due to his leadership skills and highly valued corporate experience.

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