Also known as the ‘Iron Man of Calcutta’, Lakshmi Mittal is the Indian steel mogul who is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ArcelorMittal, the biggest steel producing company of the world. In 2011, Mittal was ranked 6th amongst the world’s richest people by Forbes. He is also number 47th on the Forbes list of ‘most powerful individuals’.
Lakshmi Mittal was born on 15th June 1950 in the Churu district in Rajasthan, India to a business family. He studied in St. Xavier’s College and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. After that he joined his father’s steel business named ‘Nippon Denro Ispat’ where he was responsible of the international development. He founded his own company by the name of ‘Mittal Steel’ in 1976. Since then he has been in charge for the expansion of the business. In the early 90s the steel magnate bought failing or weakened companies and saved them. Mittal steel is currently a worldwide steel producer that operates in 14 countries. He also established the growth of incorporated mini-mills and use of DRI (direct integrated iron) as an ancillary for making steel. With shipments of 42.1 million tons steel and profits of more than 22 billion dollars (2004), Mittal Steel is by far the largest steelmaker of the world. Mittal has also been part of some controversies and allegations such as the Mittal Affair and slave labor, environmental damage and dubious safety records.
Mittal is a generous philanthropist and part of many trusts. He has the membership of the Foreign Investment Council (Kazakhstan), the International Investment Council of the World Economic Forum, the International Investment Council (South Africa) and the International Iron and Steel Institute Executive Committee. Along with this he holds the post of director of the ICICI Bank Limited and is also on the advisory board of the ‘Kellogg School of Management’ in the U.S. Lakshmi Mittal has received several awards and honors including the ‘Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2008, the ‘Padma Vibhushan’ from the Government of India in 2008, the ‘Grand Cross of Civil Merit’ from the Government of Spain in 2007, the ‘Dwight D. Eisenhower Global Leadership Award’ from the Business Council for International Understanding in 2007. He was Forbes ‘European Businessman of the Year’ in 2004. Wall Street Journal termed him ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2004 and the same year he was given the ‘8th Honorary Willy Korf Steel Vision Award’ from the American Metal Market and World Steel Dynamics.
Mittal lives a very lavish lifestyle. His daughter’s wedding that was celebrated in France is the world’s second most expensive wedding costing 55 million Euros. In 2004, he bought his residence from the Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone for £57 million and at the time was the most expensive house of the world. He owns several other properties including a colonial bungalow in New Delhi ($30 million) and three other properties in Kensington Palace, Gardens, worth £500 million.
The Sunday Times ‘Business Person of the Year’ in 2006, Financial Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ and Time magazine’s International Newsmaker of the Year 2006’ and one of the ‘100 most influential persons in the world’, Lakshmi Mittal certainly has an exemplary life for those who wish to achieve success in their lives.