Padma Vibushan Awardee Narayana Murthy’s Story

narayana murthy infosys

N.R. Narayana Murthy needs no introduction. He is the co-founder of Infosys Technologies Ltd and a Padma Vibhushan awardee. Narayana Murthy was born on August 20, 1946, in the small town of Shidlaghatta in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka to a middle-class family. 

Murthy’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Mysore in 1967  and in 1969, a master’s degree in technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.

In the 1970s, when he worked in Paris, he helped design an operating system to help streamline cargo handling at the Charles de Gaulle Airport. On his return to India, he decided to launch his own firm. 

Murthy established Infosys in 1981 and took on the mantle of Infosys CEO with an initial capital of INR 10,000 which he borrowed from his wife, Sudha Murthy. He invited six other computer professionals to join him – Nandan Nilekani, N.S Raghavan, S Gopalakrishnan, S.D Shibulal, K.Dinesh, and Ashok Arora.

Narayana Murthy’s wife, Sudha Murthy, is the Chairperson and Founder of the Infosys Foundation and a successful person in her own right. She set up the foundation in 1996. Further, she is a visiting professor at Bangalore University and a full-time professor at Christ College.  Sudha Murthy’s net worth is approximately 8 billion, which she has earned due to her role as a successful author and from her stake in Infosys. 

As Infosys co-founder, he oversaw the company’s growth and set the company on an upward trajectory from the 1990s, when the Indian government moved to liberalize and deregulate the economy. The deregulation contributed to the country’s Information Technology sector. 

Narayan Murthy of Infosys then moved to aggressively expand the business by negotiating deals with overseas clients and providing them proprietary solutions tailor-made to their needs. Infosys was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange in 1999, becoming the first Indian company to do so.

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The following year, Narayana Murthy was included in Asiaweek’s Power 50, the magazine’s annual list of most influential people. In 2003 he was felicitated as Fortune magazine’s Asian Businessman of the Year.

Murthy was on the board of Infosys as the Founder-CEO for 21 years. He was executive chairman from 2002-2006 and served as non-executive chairman and chief mentor from 2006-2011.

He returned for one final time in 2013 for a brief while to help steady the firm when it was faced with a steady decline in fortunes and lost its second position in the infotech industry to Cognizant Technology Solutions. 

“The real power of money is the power to give it away.”

N.R.Narayana Murthy

Apart from handling his duties at Infosys and Catamaran Investment, a venture capital initiative, Murthy has also served on the boards of HSBC, Cornell University, Ford Foundation, and Wharton School.   

Since its inception in 1981, with Narayana Murthy at Infosys, the company has transformed into an $8 billion behemoth and was long considered the IT bellwether in India. In 2008, Narayana Murthy was awarded the Padma Vibushan, the highest civilian honor in India.

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