Shiv Nadar, born in Tamil Nadu, India in 1945, is a billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist known for co-founding HCL Technologies, one of India’s largest IT companies. Under his leadership, HCL has become a global enterprise with over 159,000 employees in 50 countries. In addition to his business success, Nadar established the Shiv Nadar Foundation in 1994, which focuses on education and healthcare, skill development, and other social impact initiatives in India. As a remarkable leader, he has received several awards and honors for his contributions to the IT industry and philanthropy.
A Child Prodigy
Born in a small village in Tamil Nadu on July 14, 1945, Shiv Nadar was nicknamed “Magus” as a child due to his exceptional intelligence. He completed his schooling at Kumbakonam’s Town Higher Secondary School, Madurai’s Elango Corporation Higher Secondary School, and St. Joseph’s Boys Higher Secondary School in Trichy. After obtaining a pre-university diploma from Madurai’s American college, he pursued Electrical and Electronic Engineering at PSG College of Technology in Coimbatore. Nadar began working at Walchand Group’s College of Engineering in Pune in 1967 but later left to work for Delhi Cloth Mills’ digital products business. Realizing that he was not satisfied with his work as an employee, he and a few colleagues quit their jobs to start their own business, founding MicroComp Limited, which specialized in producing and distributing tell digital calculators. While MicroComp was not their ultimate goal, it was considered a stepping stone toward their larger purpose.
A Golden Chance
In 1975, Shiv Nadar and his partners established Microcomp, which produced digital calculators and other office products like Televista. However, despite its profitability, Nadar desired to achieve greater success. Fortunately, the Uttar Pradesh government was encouraging entrepreneurs in the IT industry, which prompted Nadar to pitch his dream concept. As a result, HCL Technologies Limited was founded on August 11, 1976, with the support of the UP Electronics Board. Nadar co-founded HCL with Arjun Malhotra, and the company generated a remarkable 10 lakh rupees in sales in its first year.
Reaching Greater Heights
Nadar, like many entrepreneurs, seized the opportunity that presented itself. Recognizing that India lacked a significant number of computers and with IBM’s departure from the country due to political reasons, he decided to form HCL with an initial investment of Rs 1,87,000. The Uttar Pradesh government was pleased with Nadar’s business vision and invested an additional 20 lakh in exchange for a 26 percent stake in the company. Because of the government’s investment, Nadar was able to name the company “Hindustan Computers Limited.” In 1978, HCL released its first indigenous computer, the HCL 8C, and also launched the first multiprocessor Unix version, ‘HCL BusyBee,’ that year.
In 1994, Nadar established The Shiv Nadar Foundation intending to create a more equitable, meritocratic society by providing transformative education and bridging the socioeconomic divide. The foundation has established institutions and initiatives in underserved areas of education and art, both rural and urban. Nadar has always emphasized the importance of education, stating that “Education is and will be the most effective tool for individuals and social change, and we must do all possible to support it.” In 1996, he decided to give back to society and created the SSN College of Engineering in Chennai with around one million dollars. Nadar has collaborated with several foreign universities, focusing on research. He has also established Vidyangayan School in Uttar Pradesh, which provides free scholarships to 200 children from all over the state.
Awards And Recognition
In recognition of his contributions to the IT industry, Shiv was awarded the Padma Bhushan award in 2008. He was also honored with an honorary doctorate from Madras University in 2007 and named Entrepreneur of the Year in the same year. The All-India Management Association awarded him an honorary fellowship in 2006. Forbes recognized him as the 48th Hero of Philanthropy in 2011, while India Today Magazine named him the 16th most influential person in India in 2017. Shiv is known for his calm demeanor, which is admired by many of his colleagues and subordinates. He has created a strong organizational culture that encourages individuals to do their best work and rewards top performers with incentives like cars and paid vacations.
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