He started from a garage 38 years ago and now his companies are worth $11.3 billion. Shiv Nadar, founder and chairman of Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL), presides over an IT empire that is now among the largest hardware and software conglomerates in India. In 1976, a discussion over lunch that emerged from dissatisfaction at work among a group of six engineers at Delhi Cloth Mills (DCM) led to the formation of a small company that would make personal computers. That company today has matured into the HCL Group of companies.
Nadar’s passion and able support from his colleagues made the journey possible. From calculator to IT education, hardware to software to BPO, this true visionary has not let go of any opportunity to make the company what it is today. Thus the ‘employee’s first’ is the principle that he derived from his own experience at DCM. HCL’s notable customers include names like Boeing, Microsoft, Cisco and UBS.
HCL ventured into the international market with the opening of Far East Computers in Singapore to sell IT hardware. His contribution is not limited to just the IT industry. He is among India’s most generous industrialists. He has so far given away $500 million and plans to donate a further $500 million over the next five years to various projects and causes. Shiv Nadar Foundation is running “VidyaGyan” schools in Uttar Pradesh that provide free, world-class education to rural toppers from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
An avid reader of technology and businessrelated books, he is a true visionary, trendsetter and among the pioneers of the IT industry in India. He was the only person with whom Microsoft founder Bill Gates had a private meeting during his famous India visit in 1996. Shiv Nadar’s friends rightly call him “Magus” which meant Wizard in Old Persian. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2008 for his exemplary contribution to the Indian IT industry.