“In 1981 Murthy wanted to start Infosys. He had a vision and zero capital...... typical of Murthy, he just had a dream and no money. So I gave him Rs.10000 which I had saved for a rainy day, without his knowledge and told him, this is all I have. Take it.” - Sudha Murthy (Wife of Mr. N.R. Narayanamurthy Chief Mentor Infosys Technologies).
The chronicle of one of India's biggest business Icon's, the founder of India's largest Software Company N.R. Narayanamurthy is an inspiring one. Narayanamurthy was born on August 20, 1946 in Karnataka, Southern India. Like many great people, Murthy had a humble beginning. From his younger years, he was fascinated by the prospect of gaining knowledge. He pursued his studies with aggression.
He completed his Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from Mysore University in 1967. He then went on to finish his Master of Technology in Computer Science from IIT Kanpur. After that he worked at IIM Ahmadabad and then in France for a few years. But his heart was in India. He was aware of the gigantic economic revolution that was about to take place in India.
He returned to India and in 1978, Murthy joined an upcoming IT company – Patni Computers, as General Manager. This was the beginning of his long and dominant career in Computers and Information Technology. Three years at Patni had strengthened his resolve, and he decided to take the plunge. He was confident of his capacity and of the potential that the IT sector had to offer.
In 1981, Murthy and six of his associates started the fledgling company known as "Infosys Technologies". The company started off with a shoestring budget, but with a huge vision. Narayanamurthy and his colleagues propelled Infosys over the years with tremendous hard work and perseverance. There were many difficult situations but Murthy was filled with self-belief, and kept on moving forward. His efforts paid off and today Infosys is a world leader in consulting and information technology services. It partners with Global 2000 companies to provide business consulting, systems integration, application development and product engineering services.
Murthy and his colleagues contributed a mere rupees sixty thousand to kick-start their tiny company. Today, Infosys has a turnover of more than $ 3.3 billion and has employee strength over 50,000. In March 1999, Infosys Technologies became the first Indian registered company to be listed on an American stock exchange. Infosys is acknowledged by customers, employees, investors and the general public as a highly respected, dynamic and innovative company. Murthy's success did not get to his head. He remains the humble and introverted person drat he always was.
Also he has not forgotten the various people who built Infosys into what it is today. Murthy has ensured huge wealth creation for its employees, shareholders and partners too. At one point of time, Infosys was known as the company with the largest number of "Crorepathy's" (millionaires) working for it. Murthy has enabled his employees to become owners of Infosys by providing shares to them, which are worth millions today. All these achievements have won Narayanamurthy many accolades. He has received several honours and awards, including Businessman of the Year 1999 by Business India. He has been featured in Asiaweek's Power 50, a list of Asia's most powerful people in June 2000. Business Week chose him as one of "The Stars of Asia" for three successive years (1998-2000).
On February 10, 2003, Murthy was named among “Asia's businessmen of the year” for 2003 by international business magazine – Fortune. Murthy's corporate and social vision has been appreciated globally and he is the recipient of Padma Vibushan - India's second highest civilian award. Moreover, he is a member in many elite organizations including, the National Information Technology Task Force of India, a member of the Prime Minister's Council on Trade and Industry. He is also a Director on the board of the Reserve Bank of India.
On March 3, 2003, Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra appointed Murthy to join his advisers' team on information technology issues. The Prime Minister said, “I am impressed by Murthy's ability to put his company among the world's leading software developers in just a few years and to help make Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of Asia. I want to tap that ability to help develop Thailand and South East Asia’s information technology capacity.” N.R. Narayanamurthy has become a living legend rarely seen in the world today. He is still well known for his modesty and generosity.
His wife Sudha and he are involved in several worthy charities in India, with Infosys being one of the major benefactors. His son was made to write an entrance test after his engineering to enter Infosys. This speaks volumes for the man who created one of the largest business empires in the world, but still regards fairness and humility as virtues. He retired from his executive position at Infosys on 20 August, 2006. However, he continues as the Non-Executive Chairman of the board.
Narayanamurthy is respected however for the vision he created for India and for the IT sector. He is the living example that if you follow your dream, you will get there, no matter what the odds are.