Faqir Chand Kohli, the founder and first CEO of Tata Consultancy Services, passed away on November 26. Kohli, often called the father of the Indian IT industry, was 96 years old.
Widely recognised as the brilliant technocrat parachuted in from the Tata Electric Companies, Kohli was actively involved in the decision to bring IBM to India as part of Tata-IBM in 1991. This was part of the joint-venture for hardware manufacturing and support in India initiative.
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Referred to as 'Father of the Software Industry', FC Kohli pioneered India’s 'Technology Revolution' and helped the country build the $100 billion IT industry as first CEO of TCS.
Though after hanging his boots, Kohli worked on an adult literacy programme to teach people who have never been educated and it was reported that it did help build literacy.
"That's perhaps the biggest contribution to my own country and government in helping increase literacy. It allows people to read starting small and basically for those who have never ever read and no options and designed especially for them," Kohli had said to MoneyControl on October 2, 2020.
Kohli joined Tata Electric Companies in 1951 and helped set up the load despatching system to manage the system operations. Following this, he became the director of the company in 1970 and was appointed as the first CEO of TCS later. He retired in 1999 at the age of 75.
Following the demise of Kohli, industrialists have expressed their condolences:
N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons: "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 far-ranging areas 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."
Narayana Murthy: "Mr. F C Kohli laid the foundation for a strong TCS. I had the privilege of working with him on the NASSCOM Executive Council during the early nineties. I pray that his soul rests in peace."
Azim Premji, Founder Chairman, Wipro Ltd.: "Mr. Kohli was the true pioneer of Indian IT. We have all followed in his footsteps. His contribution to the IT industry and thus to India is immeasurable."
Keshav Murugesh, Group CEO, WNS: "Saddened at the loss of a great visionary, Mr. FC Kohli who exhibited an unparalleled zeal at the meetings we had at NASSCOM. He is rightly hailed as the Father of the Indian IT industry, a creator of many CEOs, truly a doyen. We would always be grateful for the path he showed us. My heartfelt condolences to his family."Cyrus P Mistry, Former Chairman, Tata Group: "We will always be reminded of the huge contribution Mr Kohli made to the Tata Group.It is his vision, passion, discipline and commitment that set the culture in TCS. The grounded yet dynamic culture in TCS is a reflection of his strength of character and I believe is what sets it apart from most of its competitors.His vision not only gave birth to TCS but established the whole software industry in india, it is this tremendous contribution that earned him the coveted Padma Bhushan so richly deserved by him."