30th Jun, 2022

Highest honour awarded to leaders of engineering industry

Shaun Reynolds 6th Oct, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

WMG Chairman, and founder, Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya joined Mr Ratan Tata to take the Oath of Freemen of the City of Coventry and sign the roll of honour during a ceremony at Coventry Cathedral.

Honoury freedom of the city is the highest award that Coventry can present to a person and only 13 people have been given this award since 1914.

The Lord Mayor, Coun Michael Hammon – a freeman himself – said the award recognises people who helped in the regeneration of the city and is a way of celebrating all that is good about the city and its future.

Jaguar Land Rover and Mr Tata are two of the biggest contributors to the new £150 million National Automotive Innovation Centre being currently being constructed on the University of Warwick campus – a development championed by Professor Lord Bhattacharyya.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has been instrumental in many large scale inward investments in the UK, most recently the Tata acquisition of Corus and Jaguar Land Rover.

Coun Ann Lucas OBE, Leader of Coventry Council, said: “The vision, leadership and commitment of Mr Tata and Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has been instrumental in placing Coventry on a world stage.

“Growing the city’s economy is fundamental to achieving our aim of becoming a top ten city we are delighted to award Mr Tata and Professor Lord Bhattacharyya the highest Honour in recognition of their impact on the city.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya said: “To be an Honorary Freeman of the City of Coventry is a great honour indeed at the time when Coventry has reinvented itself to be a great city of high technology and high value manufacturing.”

Professor Sir Nigel Thrift, Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick said: “Coventry and much of the rest of our region has gained greatly through the vision of these two men.

“Ratan Tata has transformed the fortunes of Jaguar Land Rover and part of that transformation has seen new jobs created for our city and region and strong new research partnerships pioneered with Professor Lord Bhattacharyya that are creating world leading engineering technologies.”

Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO, said: “Mr Tata and Professor Lord Bhattacharyya have made a huge contribution to the British automotive industry, and even more significantly have planted some of the seeds for automotive research, innovation and advanced manufacturing in the future.”

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