Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has voiced his admiration for industrialist Ratan Tata's 'grace' and wisdom, saying he was moved by the business icon's words during the launch of the coffee chain's flagship store in Mumbai last year.
"At the celebratory dinner the night of the Mumbai (store's) opening, Ratan Tata offered a toast that really moved me," Schultz writes in an essay in the book 'Reimagining India: Unlocking The Potential of Asia's Next Superpower', edited by global consulting firm McKinsey.
Schultz recalls that while describing Starbucks' India launch and Ratan Tata's remarks at the celebrations later to a gathering of his company officials in the US, he even began to cry and was overpowered by emotion.
"A few weeks after returning from the opening of our Mumbai store, we held one of our big open forum meetings where we get the entire company together. And as I tried to describe that moment for everyone, something came over me. I started to cry. It just hit me emotionally.
"In India we'd had a chance to do something extraordinary, something truly world class. And I am excited that we have a chance to grow and give back in a land where so much opportunity lies ahead and to contribute to making it a little better place than the one we found," Schultz said.
Ratan Tata's remarks on the night of the Mumbai opening were "perfect and so heartfelt," Schultz said in the essay, adding that he considers Ratan Tata to be a "man with so much grace.
"I could sit and listen to Ratan Tata for days on end. He has so much wisdom and insight not only about India but about the world," he said.
The book is a compilation of over 60 essays on India's challenges and opportunities written by CEOs, academicians, economists and historians, including Wipro chief Azim Premji, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and India's chess legend Viswanathan Anand.
In his toast, Ratan Tata had said in his "dry, understated way" that the Tata group has had a bit of success in the various endeavours it has undertaken over the years.
"We have partnered with some good global companies. But I have never had the kind of recognition I have received from this relationship with Starbucks. People I have never met stop me on the street just to congratulate me.
"And what I have learned from this relationship is that Starbucks is far more than just a company