It's an end of an era for India's IT industry. The founder and first CEO of software conglomerate Tata Consultancy Services, FC Kohli passed away on Thursday. The father of Indian IT industry was 96 years old.
Kohli's death is mourned by the entire IT industry and its veterans.
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," Founder Chairman of Wipro Ltd Azim Premji said.
Sad day for Indian IT. He was not just the 1st CEO of TCS but someone who laid the foundation of India's greatest growth story. Go in peace, Kohli Sir. You leave behind a great legacy #FCKohli," tweeted CP Gurnani, CEO and MD of Tech Mahindra.
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," Narayana Murthy said.
Who was FC Kohli?
Born in Peshawar of the pre-Independence era on March 19, 1924, Faquir Chand Kohli led an inspirational life and is credited as a visionary who constantly looked at the next frontier and played a crucial role in putting India on the global map for software services. Kohli graduated from Government College for Men under Punjab University, Lahore. He then completed his BSc (Hons) in Electrical Engineering in 1948 from Queen's University, Canada. It was in 1950 that he pursued MS in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT).
In 1951, Kohli returned to India and joined Tata Electric Companies. In an interview with the author of Azim Premji: The Man Beyond the Billions, Varun Sood, Kohli said he chose to stay in India instead of going to MIT to pursue his doctorate after seeing his family's condition.
"Before partition, we had a prosperous business in Peshawar. Overnight we became paupers & we settled in Lucknow. When I came back I saw my family sleeping on the floor. So I didn't go back to MIT to do my doctorate & I joined Tata," Kohli was quoted as saying.
Upon joining Tata, he helped set up the load despatching system to manage the system operations and then joined TCS as general manager in September 1969. Over the years, he rose ranks to become director-in-charge in 1974 and deputy chairman in 1994. Kohli was the first CEO of TCS. He was also the president of NASSCOM for 1995-96 right before he retired in 1999 at the age of 75.
But his retirement did not stop him as he went on to work as a consultant with TCS and went on to work on an adult literacy programme later. In an interview, Kohli said he was quite active until 94. Kohli pioneered India's 'Technology Revolution' and helped the country build the $100 billion IT Industry. He was also awarded Padma Bhushan in 2002.