"Forbes new entry in the list of world's richest person is a man who began by making computers in his garage 24 years ago. The man is Shiv Nadar, Chairman of HCL, a company which is India’s largest InfoTech conglomerate," Forbes Magazine.
Shiv Nadar was born in 1952 and over the t quarter century has transformed HCL Corporation from a small time firm to one of largest computer companies in the world. Shiv was born in a small village in Tamil Nadu, and studied to become an engineer. He moved to New Delhi in 1968 to work for Delhi Cloth Mills Ltd. He evidently was moving towards a sound at DCM when he abruptly quit to start is own company. His friends and well-wishers were bewildered at his decision. But Shiv had a firm head on his shoulders; he knew exactly what he had to do.
Shiv had identified an opportunity in the field of computers, which had been created due to IBM's exit from India. He and six of his colleagues from DCM started a small company called "Hindustan Computers" in a one-room tenement in New Delhi. This company would manufacture and supply computers. Shiv was just 30 years old at that time. The company he created benefitted from the computer revolution that was taking place, and the expertise that the founders provided.
The company grew from strength to strength. Eventually in 1982, Hindustan Computers Limited came out with their own brand of Personal Computers. Shiv cannot forget the huge gamble he took by quitting a well paid executive job at DCM. But-today, he knows the gamble has paid off. His success with HCL, as also the numerous other companies he has founded over the past two-and-a-half decades, has earned him praise for being one of the pioneers and visionaries of the information technology sector.
Over the years, Shiv has ensured that his pet company HCL has been nurtured in his significant and unique style. His management style is that of delegation and decentralization, meaning that each branch or unit functions as an independent centre, drawing strength from its managers and employees. Under him the HCL group has joined the “Billion dollar club”, and has over 100 offices worldwide. Today, HCL's revenues mainly come from computers and office equipment. HCL's philosophy has also been to grow by spreading its reach worldwide. Helping them achieve this is the fact that they produce cutting edge technology at affordable rates. Recently, HCL's Singapore subsidiary, Far East Computers created a phenomenal application that enables the computer to read handwritten tax returns. This was lauded world over.
Shiv is also conscious and grateful to all those who have helped his company grow. He has ensured that his associates and investors have wealth and secure investments. His personal wealth has also grown to sensational proportions. In the Forbes List of Billionaires in 2004, he was ranked the 126th richest person in the world with an estimated personal net worth $3.7 billion. Shiv Nadar still remains the soft spoken, humble personality making rare public appearances. In an interview, he said, "In these 25 years, we pioneered the growth of IT in India in virtually every sphere, including hardware, software, services, solutions, networking communications, Internet and the IT infrastructure."
Shiv's passion to create successful companies did not stop with HCL alone. There are many such companies in the HCL group - HCL Infosystems, Frontline Solutions, HCL Peripherals, HCL Comet, HCL America, HCL Technologies, HCL Far East and NIIT. It is another huge success story in the Shiv Nadar list of companies, which created and pioneered a formal system of computer education in India. Over the years, Shiv has also had his share of setbacks. The Hewlett Packard group, which had invested in HCL, withdrew due to differences of opinion. Also the foray into the telecom services sector, for which Shiv partnered with Singapore Telecom, was a loss-making proposition.
The group ventured into the granite and was thinking of setting up an aquaculture project, but the ideas were shelved when Shiv learned there was no future prospect in these ventures. And he continues to concentrate in his core business of computers. The accolades for Shiv's visionary work continued to flow. In February 1997, TIME magazine wrote: "The world has caught up with Nadar's vision of a networked future, and the results are shaking up enterprises, economies and government around the world". This was a fitting compliment to Shiv Nadar.
He was the only Person with whom Microsoft founder Bill Gates had a private meeting during his India visit in 1996. Shiv has been in business for the past 30 years, but in all these years has never lost sight of being a visionary. He is based in the United States, but involves himself in the day-to-day running of HCL Technologies Ltd worldwide. Shiv Nadar is a happy family man lives with his wife Kiran and daughter Roshini.
In 2007, Shiv passed the mantle of CEO of HCL Technologies to Vineet Nayar. Shiv remains Chairman of HCL Technologies and its largest shareholder. In March 2008, Nadar's SSN -Trust, named after his father – Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar, announced setting up of Seven Vidyagyan schools in Uttar Pradesh for rural students where free scholarship will be provided for 100 students from 10 districts of the state. In 2008, Government of India awarded Shiv Nadar with Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, for his contribution to IT industry.