A prominent business magnate and the world’s 62nd richest person, Lakshmi Niwas Mittal is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker. Even though his current position in the global ‘rich list’ has seen a precipitous drop from the third rank in 2005, Mittal still has an astronomical net worth of $17.4 billion.
Mittal was born on June 15, 1950, to Mohan Lal and Gita Mittal in Sadulpur of Rajasthan’s Churu district. After his graduation, he worked at his father’s steel company named Nippon Denro Ispat along with his brothers, Pramod and Vinod.
In 1976, the 26-year-old bought a loss-making steel factory in Indonesia. This factory was the first cog in the wheel of Mittal’s exponential growth story. In 1994, he parted ways with his family and took control of its international steel business.
Mittal is renowned for his ‘Midas Touch’—a phenomenon which implies turning loss-making companies into flourishing businesses. He bought the 5-million-tonne Karmet steel plant from the government of Kazakhstan and made it thrive by introducing the latest technology. This was followed by similar acquisitions in Romania, the Czech Republic and Poland.
The year 2005 represented an epoch, as Mittal Steel and Arcelor locked horns to acquire the $4.8 billion Kryvorizhstal, Ukraine’s largest steel mill. Mittal won and within three months, he launched a bid to take over Arcelor in order to eliminate competition. The takeover bid was successful and today, ArcelorMittal is the global leader in steelmaking, producing a whopping 70 million tonnes of the alloy every year. The Sultan of Steel once attributed his success story to never turning any opportunities down. “Always think outside the box and embrace opportunities that appear, wherever they might be,” he said.
The billionnaire enjoys an extravagant lifestyle. However, he is also known to be an avid philanthropist. In 2008, he donated £15 million to London’s Great Osmond Street Hospital. He also set up the Lakshmi Niwas and Usha Mittal Foundation for providing drinking water, medicine, cattle fodder, school uniforms, fees, stationery and improved seeds and fertilisers.
Sharing the philosophy behind the man’s unstoppable and exponential growth story, Mittal once claimed, “At the end of the day, you have to keep emotions away.” This perhaps captures, in a nutshell, why the star billionnaire global entrepreneur has achieved such peaks of success. Recognising his indomitable spirit and his sharp business acumen, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award, in 2008 and continues to remain a role model for budding entrepreneurs worldwide.