Rising from a humble background to a position where the whole world gets inspiration from your exceptional success story is one of the biggest achievements a person can accomplish in his life. Mr. Lakshmi Mittal created a similar career story, and is now helming the world’s largest steelmaking company – ArcelorMittal.
A STEELY DETERMINATION
Born in a small town called Sadulpur in Rajasthan, he moved with his family to Calcutta where his father began his own business in a challenging environment. When Lakshmi Mittal graduated from Jesuit College, St Xavier’s with excellent grades in accounting and mathematics, he surprised everyone by joining his father’s business, Ispat, instead of going for a career in accountancy.
A farsighted leader, he got inspired “by the massive rollers driven by rubber belts and pulleys that flattened the red-hot steel into bars,” and founded his own establishment, LNM Group in 1976 at the age of 26. He had a vision in his mind to be the leading player of the steel market, and to turn that vision into reality he gradually started expanding his business at the global level. It was in the year 2004 that his dreams came true when he created Mittal Steel by merging Ispat International and LNM Holdings. The same year Mittal Steel became the largest steelmaker in the world, with shipments of 42.1 million tonnes of steel and profits of over $22 billion. The firm proudly employs 300,000 people in 60 countries.
Again taking an astonishing step in the year 2006, he acquired Arcelor Steel, a company created through a merger of firms from Spain, France, Luxembourg, and Belgium. This huge acquisition resulted in the formation of what now is the biggest steel firm on earth – ArcelorMittal.
HOLDING A GOLDEN HEART
An active philanthropist, Mr. Lakshmi Mittal has made huge contributions towards various social issues. In 2008, he made a donation of £15 million to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. He also collaborated with the Government of Rajasthan to lay down the foundation the LNM Institute of Information Technology (LNMIIT) in Jaipur. Further, his charitable foundation – Lakshmi Niwas Mittal and Usha Mittal Foundation has also established the Usha Lakshmi Mittal Institute of Management in New Delhi, and Bal Vidya Bhawan. Passionate about sports and dedicated towards encouraging the deserving sportspersons, he has also set up Mittal Champions Trust with $9 million to support 10 Indian athletes with world-beating potential.
Apart from leading ArcelorMittal, Mr. Lakshmi Mittal is also a member of the Foreign Investment Council in Kazakhstan, the International Investment Council in South Africa, and the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council. He is also a member of the International Iron and Steel Institute’s Executive Committee. He received the “Steelmaker of the Year” award in 1996 by New Steel, and the “Willy Korf Steel Vision Award” in 1998, for outstanding vision, entrepreneurship, leadership, and success in global steel development from American Metal Market and PaineWebber’s World Steel Dynamics. He was also honored with Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of the Republic of India, in the year 2008.
Though he considers himself a “global Indian”, his heart belongs to India. He is considered a national icon in India and his story has inspired many young entrepreneurs.