N R Narayana Murthy is synonymous with Infosys, the well-known software company which he co-founded with six other professionals in 1981. He served in various capacities within the organization and was for long perceived to be the driving force behind Infosys.
Murthy stepped down as the non-executive Chairman of Infosys in 2011, finally bringing to an end his 30 year long stint with the company.
NRN’s Early life and Education
Murthy was born on August the 20th, 1946 in Mysore in Karnataka. He studied electrical engineering at the University of Mysore and later obtained a master’s degree from IIT, Kanpur. He joined Patni Computer Systems before which his first job was at IIM, Ahmedabad, where he was a Chief Systems Programmer.
The Birth and Rise of Infosys
Infosys was started with an initial investment of just Rs 10,000, which Murthy is said to have borrowed from his wife Sudha Murty. The company grew from strength to strength, with Murthy serving as its CEO for the first 21 years of its existence. The company’s stock option schemes created many millionaires. In 1999, Infosys [stock quote] became the first Indian company to be listed on the NASDAQ.
In 2002, Murthy took on the role of Executive Chairman of the Board, giving way to Nandan Nilekani – a co-founder of Infosys – to become the CEO. In 2006, Murthy became non-executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Mentor at Infosys, before stepping down and becoming Chairman Emeritus in 2011.
Murthy is now involved with a venture capital firm called Catamaran Investment Private Ltd.
Murthy is seen as the man behind the global delivery model which is a very important element in the success seen by the Indian IT services outsourcing industry. He has served on the boards of various organizations including Unilever, HSBC, the Wharton School, the Rhodes Trust, and the Indian School of Business, the Ford Foundation and the UN Foundation.
Recognition and Awards
In 2008, Murthy was honored with the Padma Vibhushan award conferred by the government of India. He has also received the Légion d’Honneur from the government of France, besides being honored with the title Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the government of Britain.
Murthy also holds the distinction of being the first Indian to win the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year award. In 2005, he was among the ten most-admired global business leaders as per a ranking by Economist.
His Life Beyond Infosys
Murthy is much-admired for his simplicity and down-to-earth nature, besides being respected for his strong leadership skills. He is believed to have received many requests asking him to join politics, but has maintained a safe distance from politics so far. He’s married to Sudha Murthy, an author, social worker and recipient of the Padma Shri award.