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Nandan Nilekani Begins Second Innings at Infosys to Steady the Ship

Nandan Nilekani's leadership had provided the company with its most stable years. In his first term, Infosys transformed from a start up to become one of the most celebrated companies in India and even listed its shares on the NASDAQ in the United States.

Tushar Dhara | News18.com

Updated:August 24, 2017, 9:35 PM IST
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Nandan Nilekani Begins Second Innings at Infosys to Steady the Ship
File photo of Nandan Nilekani. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: After a week of turbulence, Infosys has gone back to one of its original main men. Nandan Nilekani, a co-founder of Infosys, has been brought back to head the tech giant and steady the ship.

Top fund managers and investors had written to the company board pitching for Nilekani’s return as he enjoys the confidence of customers, shareholders and employees.

A quick look at Nilekani’s life would show that his career has spanned a wide variety of roles, including in the tech industry and in the government.

The 62-year-old had a humble beginning at Patni Computer Systems, where he met N.R. Narayana Murthy in 1978. Three years later, Murthy, Nilekani and five others left Patni to found Infosys, which later rose to become the bellwether of Indian IT and became the darling of middle class retail investors with its notions of democratizing wealth creation.

Nilekani was the second CEO of the company after Narayana Murthy, assuming the role in 2002 and serving till 2007, after which another co-founder, Kris Gopalakrishnan, assumed the top role. It is said that the tenure of Murthy and Nilekani provided the company with its most stable years, where it transformed from a start up to become one of the most celebrated companies in India and even listed its shares on the NASDAQ in America.

Nandan Nilekani

According to market gossip, Murthy was the “big picture” person while Nilekani was known for his “attention to detail”. The company lost its way after the two left the helm, slipping behind rivals Tata Cosultancy Services in terms of revenues and market capitalization. It lost its coveted title of ‘Indian IT bellwether’ to TCS.

Nilekani left Infosys in 2009 to become the chairman of the ambitious Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a cabinet ranking position. He came to be known as the ‘Aadhaar man’, using his extensive contacts in the tech industry to realize the government’s vision of creating the world’s largest biometric database, with its aim of providing an identity to more than a billion Indians.

Nilekani also has interests in space travel. He is the biggest investor in the lunar exploratory firm TeamIndus, which is building a spacecraft to land on the moon.

He joined the Congress party in 2014 and even fought from Bangalore South constituency, where he lost by a huge margin. Nilekani is also the chairman of EkStep, which is a non-profit literary and numeracy platform.
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