N R Narayana Murthy, chairman and chief mentor at Infosys Technologies, has won the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2003 Award.
Murthy, who co-founded India's software powerhouse Infosys Technologies, was presented the award at a ceremony in Monte Carlo yesterday. He is the first Indian to be given this prestigious global recognition.
The Infosys chairman was selected from among 26 nominees, each of whom had been named Entrepreneur Of The Year in national or regional programmes run by Ernst & Young.
A panel of 11 judges -- each of whom was a past participant in the Entrepreneur Of The Year programme in his or her respective country -- chose Murthy as the recipient of the award based on written applications and meetings held throughout the course of the four-day event.
"I am extremely grateful to the jury of the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year award for this recognition. It is an extraordinary act since it raises the hope, confidence and enthusiasm of millions of entrepreneurs in India and will spur them to create a large number of jobs which the country needs badly," Murthy said after winning the third edition of the award.
James S Turley, chairman of Ernst & Young Global, said: "Murthy's story is a truly inspirational one. He has demonstrated quality leadership, and embodies both entrepreneurial spirit and business excellence. We are delighted he has been selected to receive this year's award."
Kashi Nath Memani, chairman and country managing partner at Ernst & Young, India, said: "This is a moment of great pride for all Indians and a splendid recognition of the country's growing stature in the global business environment.
"We launched this journey five years ago by introducing the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year India Awards Program in 1999. Today, our faith in the Indian entrepreneurial spirit stands vindicated.
"I would especially like to thank the illustrious jury in India that selected Narayana Murthy as the India winner in 2002, thereby paving the way for the country to be recognised at a prestigious forum like the World Entrepreneur Of The Year."
According to a release from Ernst & Young, the judges of the award praised Murthy's intellectually, philosophically, ethically and spiritually driven entrepreneurship and his company's outstanding financial performance and global impact in a dynamic and volatile industry.
In 2002, Stefan Vilsmeier, founder and CEO of BrainLAB, a German-headquartered company dealing with medical care in fields such as cancer, brain surgery, ENT surgery and surgery for the knee, hip and spine, was named the winner.
In 2001, Paolo della Porta, president, chairman and group CEO of SAES, a company operating in the area of purified gas environments, won the first Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year award.
The 22-year-old Infosys Technologies provides end-to-end technology and consulting solutions to small and large corporations, and employs more than 10,000 people worldwide. Currently, 98 per cent of Infosys' revenues are generated outside India.
The company's corporate governance system is based on five concepts dating back to its inception: "The softest pillow is a clear conscience; when in doubt, disclose; don't use corporate resources for personal use; put long-term interests ahead of short-term ones; and share wealth with employees."