Lakshmi Niwas Mittal was born in Sadulpur village in the Churu district of Rajasthan on June 15, 1950. Based in London, he is the Chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker. A legendary organization man, Mittal also serves as a non-executive director of Goldman Sachs, EADS and ICICI Bank and is the chairman of the World Steel Association. Mittal, who continues to hold and Indian passport, is committed to lending his mite in India.
Founded on November 9, 2005 by Indian tennis start Mahesh Bhupathi, Mittal Champions Trust is funded by Mittal to nurture Indian athletes. Mittal announced the trust with the aim of supporting talented Indian sportspersons and helping them to perform well at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010 and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. While financially supporting talented sportspersons, the Trust, with an initial corpus fund of $9 million, will provide them access to the best sporting specialists in the world.
The first beneficiary was Joshna Chinappa, India’s best squash player. Some of the other beneficiaries are Dipika Pallikal (Squash), Saina Nehwal (Badminton), Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar (Boxing) and Abhinav Bindra (Shooting).
Mittal says, “I went to Athens to see the Olympics last year (2008) and was excited by the performances, but was disappointed to see India languishing at the bottom. When Lithuania can win medals why not India?”
The sporting items in focus are Squash, Badminton, Archery, Boxing, Shooting, Swimming and Heptathlon.
ArcelorMittal also has a very active Corporate Social Responsibility programme, under which it sets out its path to produce safe sustainable steel. The company also operates the ArcelorMittal Foundation, which provides support to many different community projects around the world in the countries where ArcelorMittal operates.
Boxers Jitender Kumar (left) and Akhil Kumar, trained by the Mittal Champions Trust, reached the quarterfinals at Beijing Olympics
The Fortune magazine honoured him with ‘European Businessman of the Year’ in 2006. In 2007, the Financial Times named Mittal ‘Person of the Year’. In May 2007, Time magazine included him in the ‘100 Most Influential People’ list.
The Indian government honoured him with the Padma Vibhushan in 2008. Earlier, in 1998, he was awarded the Willy Korf Steel Vision Award by the American Metal Market and PaineWeber’s World Steel Dynamics. In 1996, New Steel called him ‘Steel maker of the Year’.
Presently, he is the eighth richest in the world and the richest in the United Kingdom with an estimated wealth of US$19.3 billion in 2009.
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—This piece has been taken from the book, The Idea of Giving, published by the India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians.