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Nilekani: IT icon or rock star?

June 25, 2009 16:22 IST

People may not be screaming his name out in offices, but he has his own fan following and enjoys rock star-like fame. Nandan M Nilekani has clearly emerged as the most famous of those who created India's widely idolised IT company -- Infosys.

N R Narayana Murthy has probably had more media coverage but as the key people behind Infosys prepare to hand over control to the next generation of business leaders, it is Nilekani who looks all set to enjoy a great solo career.

Nilekani, 54, is already credited with repainting India's image globally and will now head an authority that will create a unique electronic database of the country's citizens -- a project that many see as key to plugging loopholes in implementation of welfare schemes.

As chairperson of the country's Unique Identification Authority, Nilekani would enjoy the rank of Cabinet minister.

The electrical engineer from IIT, Bombay, who is the co-chairman of the board of directors of Infosys Technologies Limited, was named among Time magazine's world's 100 most influential people of 2009 -- an honour he secured in 2006 too.

From March 2002 to June 22, 2007, he served as chief executive officer and managing director and has previously held the posts of president and chief operating officer of the company that he founded, along with Murthy and others.

In January 2006, Nilekani became one of the youngest entrepreneurs to join 20 global leaders on the prestigious World Economic Forum Foundation Board.

He also co-founded India's National Association of Software and Service Companies.

The IT czar has been involved in various initiatives of the central and state governments. He was the chairman of the government of India's IT Task Force for power. He is a member of the National Knowledge Commission and also part of the National Advisory Group on e-governance.

He is also a member of the review committee of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. He took over as the elected president of NCAER (the premier, independent, applied economics research institute in India) in April 2008.

Nilekani is the recipient of several awards. In 2006, he was conferred the Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civilian honors awarded by the government of India.

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