Life in the steel
industry is not easy. The gospel truth came from none other than the Chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, Lakshmi Niwas Mittal.
"Life in the steel
industry in the last few years has not been easy. To be honest, life in the steel
industry has often not been easy," he said in Kolkata
at the St Xavier's University. Mittal, who happened to be a graduate of St Xavier's College, Kolkata, flew down from London to flag off the commencement of the first academic session of the university.
industry, the world over, has gone through a turmoil the last couple of years. The main reason being the flood of exports
that nearly wrecked every steel
market around the globe.
"As you can imagine given the size and scale of the company today, my leadership team is very important to me," added Mittal. At present, ArcelorMittal
has around 200,000 employees and operates in around 60 countries across the globe.
But the empire wasn't built in a day and Mittal recounted how he started off from Indonesia.
"When I started the company in Indonesia
in 1976, it was just me and a few others. That's where our journey started. Every decision we took from that point shaped our future and contributed to our reputation. Back then, we never dreamt that we would become the world's leading steel
company. But it was only the start of the journey," he told students and dignitaries attending the event.
Mittal also said that in those days leaving the country and relocating to Indonesia
was a big decision. "To leave my home, my family, to live in a foreign country with my wife and baby son- Aditya- was a huge decision," he said.
Mittal praised St Xavier's for its quality of education by saying that it helped him in taking the "huge" decision of moving out to Indonesia.
"It gave me the grounding to take the decision and the quest for adventure."
But it took 'hard work' and perseverance to get into St Xavier's he said while adding: "I had to work hard to persuade Father Joris to admit me. He had his reasons to say 'no'. Mainly, that I didn't speak English and all the classes were in English."
Mittal, however, graduated from St Xavier's with flying colours. Vice Chancellor, Felix Raj, while introducing him, said that he graduated with the highest rank.
Addressing the students of the University, Mittal said that they should feel encouraged and inculcate a spirit of entrepreneurship. "Real transformational change comes from entrepreneurship. The world needs people who have the desire and motivation to buck the trend, think differently and potentially carve out a path that has not been followed before. If that is you, then keep it as a part of you. I certainly don't regret my own decision."