Born in Kolar, a village in Karnataka on 20 August 1946, Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy is the one who co-founded the Information Technology company, Infosys. It was his dedication, that made the firm the first Indian Company to be registered with NASDAQ. He is no doubt one of the best Technopreneur and a prestigious living legend in the world.
N.R Narayan Murthy – Education And Early Life
This Indian Billionaire and the founder of Infosys was born to a middle-class brahmin family. Murthy’s father wanted his son to follow the footstep of his brother, who was a civil servant but Murthy has a dream to become an engineer since childhood. Despite getting selected in the Indian Institue of Technology (IIT) with a scholarship and a high rank, the young boy had to do his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from the National Institute of Engineering, which was a local college. The scholarship received by Murthy was not enough to sustain in IIT. In 1969, he earned his master’s degree from IIT Kanpur. While pursuing his masters, Narayan Murthy met a computer scientist from the United States and got so influence by talking to him, that he further decided to pursue a career in the IT sector. On graduating, he already had offers from TELCO, Air India, and HMT, but Murthy decided to join the Indian Institue of Management(IIM) in Ahmedabad as a Research Associate. Over the years, he became a chief System Programmer in the institute and helped it become one of 3 universities in the world and the first in India to install a time-sharing computer system. In the early 1970s, he went to Paris and worked on a project where he assisted to design an operating system for managing the ‘Charles de Gaulle Airport’s air cargoes.
Murthy who was earlier a communist supporter, changed his mind to support capitalism while working abroad. This change in the mindset of his, made him return to his home country to establish his firm named Softronics. This start-up of his failed after 18 months which lead him to join Patni Computer System in Pune.
The Foundation And Growth Of Infosys
Despite Murthy’s failed start-up and rejoining a job, he could not forget his dream to become an entrepreneur. It was in 1981 when he along with 6 friends from a software background decided to establish an IT firm in Pune named “Infosys Consultants Pvt Ltd”. This firm started initially with a capital of INR 10,000 with Narayana Murthy as its CEO. In 1983, it was decided to move the headquarters to Banglore. The start-up gradually grew in the early 1990s with the benefits of the Indian Government supporting deregulation and economic liberalization. Murthy continued to expand his projects and clients globally which in 1999, made Infosys, the first Indian company to be registered with NASDAQ. In 2002, Nandan Nilekani who was co-founder of the firm, succeeded Murthy to become a chairman. Murthy served as a chief mentor since 2006, the board’s chairman since 2002, and even the president of Infosys, and later retired in 2011 to become Chairman Emeritus.
After serving for 21 years as CEO from 1981 to 2002, and even a chairman of the board till 201, Murthy decided to step down from his position. But, it was definitely not the end to his journey in Infosys. The company was suffering in Murthy’s absence, so he had to return as an Additional Director and Executive Chairman in June 2013. Finally, in the year 2014 on 12 June, he decided to retire but was going to continue Non-Executive Chairman till October 2014. Yet, Infosys share price continued to surge, currently it being approx. 1,349 INR as on 22nd April 2021, according to the reports of the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE).
Awards and Recognitions
Not only Narayana Murthy was a successful businessman but he was also an author of 3 books including A Better India: A Better World, A Clear Blue Sky: Stories and Poems on Conflict and Hope, and The Wit and Wisdom of Narayana Murthy.
The Fortune Magazine listed Murthy in their “12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time” list and even the Maganize, Times, addressed him as “father of the Indian IT sector”.
He served as an independent director of HSBC’s corporate board, Board director of Unilever, NDTV, DBS Bank, and ICICI. He currently serves as a member of the council and advisory boards philanthropic and educational institutions that include ESSEC, INSEAD, UN Foundation, Asian Institute of Management, Cornell University, Ford Foundation, the Indo-British Partnership, and the Asian Institute of Management.
Not only is Murthy a trustee of the Rhodes Trust, Infosys Prize, and Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton but also the Chairman of the Governing board of the Public Health Foundation of India. He even serves on the Asia Pacific Advisory Board of British Telecommunications and the strategic board that advises Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, the national firm for law on governance, policies, and strategic issues. . Murthy co-chaired the World Economic Forum in 2005 in Davos and is a member of International Advisory Board (IAB) of IESE.
Watch the video to know the awards and recognition received by Narayana Murthy
Legacy and Personal Life
R. Narayana Murthy married Sudha Kulkarni, now known as Sudha Murthy on 10 February 1978. This inspiring couple has two children, Akshata Murthy and Rohan Murthy. Their daughter is married to Rishi Sunak, who is the Finance Minister of the United Kingdom.
Narayan Murthy who is a successful entrepreneur and an Indian billionaire today was always broke in his youth. One can truly agree to the fact that “ Behind every successful man is a woman”. It is hard to believe, that he borrowed money from his wife to start Infosys and now has a net worth of 370 Crore USD. His dedication and strategy to focus on the US which is the most challenging market in the world made him what he is today.
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