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‘Steel man of India’ passes away at 86: Who was Jamshed J Irani?


Jamshed J Irani, also known as the “Steel Man of India”, passed away aged 86 on Monday at Tata Main Hospital in Jamshedpur. Tata Steel, the company Irani was a part of for over four decades, informed the public about his death through Twitter.

“We are deeply saddened at the demise of Padma Bhushan Dr Jamshed J Irani, fondly known as the Steel Man of India. family offers its deepest condolences to his family and loved ones,” the tweet read.

Irani retired from the Board of Directors at Tata Steel in June 2011.

“Dr Irani transformed Tata Steel in the nineties and made us 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 was one of the pioneers of the TQM movement in the country. 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,” TV Narendran, CEO & MD, Tata Steel said.

“Dr JJ Irani was a quintessential Tata man. He was a towering corporate personality whose contribution to the was immense. Dr Irani will be deeply missed by all of us at Tata Group and we pray for his departed soul,” N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, said.

“Just read that Dr Irani is no more. He was one of the finest human being I have ever met. I remember when he came to Vijaynagar like yesterday. He was so loving and graceful. I am sure entire Jamshedpur will miss him for a very long time. May his soul rest in peace. RIP,” Sajjan Jindal, chairman and MD of JSW Group said.

Who was Jamshed J Irani?

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

Irani then went to the University of Sheffield in the UK as a JN Tata scholar, where he secured a Master’s 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. But he always wished to contribute to India’s industrial progress.

Irani returned to India to join Tata Steel or Tata Iron and Steel Company, as it was then known, in 1968 and joined the firm as assistant to the director in charge of research and development.

In 1978, Irani went on to become the general superintendent of the company. In 1979, he was promoted to the rank of general manager, and eventually, in 1985, he became the president of Tata Steel.

He became joint managing director of Tata Steel in 1988, and managing director in 1992, before retiring in 2011.

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 was the chairman of board of governors at Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow. He, along with his sister Diana Hormusjee, instituted “Jiji Irani Challenge Cup”, a cricket tournament organised by Zorostrian Club of Secunderabad in memory of their father.

After being appointed an International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1996, he was conferred an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997. Later in 2007, he received the Padma Bhushan government of India.

After 43 years of service, he retired from Tata Steel in 2011.

(With agency inputs)


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