TCS founder F C Kohli, 'Father of Indian IT Industry', passes away at 96
F C KohliFile photo

TCS founder F C Kohli, 'Father of Indian IT Industry', passes away at 96

Mumbai, November 26, 2020

Faqir Chand Kohli, the founder and the first CEO of IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), passed away here today. He was 96.

Honoured by the government with the Padma Bhushan, the country's third highest civilian honour, Kohli was widely regarded as the "Father of the Indian IT Industry".

Born on February 28, 1924, Kohli obtained a BA and BSc (Hons) from Punjab University, Lahore and then went to Queen's University in Canada, where he obtained a B.Sc. (Hons) in Electrical Engineering. He then completed an MS Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.

In 1951, he returned to India and started working for the Tata Electricity Company. He joined TCS in 1969 at the behest of J. R. D. Tata, the then Chairman of the Tata Group.

"He pivoted first into management consultancy, and then over the next two decades, into software development, helping the organization navigate multiple technology waves over two and a half decades by continually investing in people and staying relevant to customers. He stepped down as CEO in 1996 and continued to play an active role in promoting technology to solve the country’s social problems," a statement from TCS said.

“I am deeply saddened by the news that Mr. FC Kohli passed away this afternoon. He was a true legend, who laid the very foundations for India’s spectacular IT revolution and set the stage for the dynamic modern economy we enjoy today. Mr. Kohli led innovations in areas far-ranging from adult literacy, water purification, software engineering, software automation, complex-systems and cybernetics. I have had the honor and privilege of working with and learning from Mr. Kohli from the day he hired me as a trainee in TCS. Despite his momentous achievements, his simplicity and thoughtfulness is a lesson for us all. His enduring optimism and his ability to make ambitious bets leaves a legacy—one that has advanced a nation. I will miss him dearly," N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, said.

S Ramadorai, former CEO and former Vice Chairman, TCS, said, “Faqir Chand Kohli was a brilliant technocrat and a business leader with varied interests. He was passionate about the development of our nation and its youth. He was also my mentor, guide and a very close family friend. His demise is a personal loss to our family. The nation has lost a legend today.”

Rajesh Gopinathan, CEO and Managing Director, TCS, said, “Mr Faqir Chand Kohli was a true visionary, showing amazing foresight in harnessing the rich engineering talent available in India to create an entire new industry that defied all odds and grew to be a global powerhouse. Over the nearly three decades that he led TCS, his sense of purpose, his clarity of vision, strength of character and unwavering belief in investing in people left an indelible stamp on the organization’s culture. Mr Kohli’s contributions to TCS, the Indian IT industry and to the nation, are immense and immeasurable.”

“As we move forward on the path he charted out for us, partnering our customers in their growth and transformation journeys, using technology as a source of social good, and scaling new peaks in creating value for all stakeholders, we continue to draw inspiration from Mr Kohli’s passion for technology, intellectual rigor, community spirit and his relentless drive until the very end. On behalf of all TCSers, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the Kohli family.”

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