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Coventry gives its highest honour to two leaders of automotive engineering industry

freeman awardWMG Chairman and founder, Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya kt, CBE, FREng, FRS joined Mr Ratan Tata GBE, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons limited to take the Oath of Freemen of the City of Coventry and sign the Roll of Honour during a ceremony at Coventry Cathedral on Friday 25th September 2015.

Honorary Freedom of the City is the highest award that Coventry can bestow upon a person and only 13 people have been given this award since 1914. Mo Mowlam was the last person to receive it in 1999.

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Michael Hammon, a Freeman himself, said the award was:

“Recognising two people who have helped in the regeneration of the city is a way of celebrating all that is good about the city and its future.”

Earlier this year, Jaguar Land Rover reaffirmed its long term commitment to Coventry and the West Midlands with a confirmation of £600 million further investment to support product creation and advanced vehicle manufacturing. Jaguar Land Rover and 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.

bhattacharyya ratan

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. He has been intensively involved in the British automotive industry and is working with Jaguar Land Rover on the development of new technologies and manufacturing processes.

Councillor Ann Lucas OBE, Leader of Coventry Council, said: “The vision, leadership and committment 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 and we are delighted to award Mr Tata and Professor Lord Bhattacharyya the highest Honour in recognition of their impact on the city. We truly value their friendship.”

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.”final image

Professor Sir Nigel Thrift, Vice Chancellor of the 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.”

1 October 2015



Tom Frew – International Press Officer, University of Warwick

E: a dot t dot frew at warwick dot ac dot uk

T: +44(0)2476575910