New Delhi [India]: Faqir Chand Kohli, the founder and first CEO of Tata Consultancy Services, passed away on Thursday at the age of 96. The National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) trade association, where Kohli served as president between 1995-96 expressed its condolences on Kohli’s demise.
The industry body lauded the achievements of Kohli known as the ‘Father of Indian IT industry’ saying he was a visionary leader who foresaw the opportunity of India in technology services decades back.
“Mr FC Kohli popularly known as the father of India’s technology industry and Past Chairman of NASSCOM passed away today, leaving behind a rich legacy of having laid the strong foundation of the USD190 billion IT industry in India. NASSCOM and all its members are deeply saddened by this loss and offer their sincere condolences to the family,” an official statement read.
“Kohli was the visionary leader who foresaw the opportunity of India in technology services and built TCS many decades back when almost nothing existed in the tech sector in India. His leadership and passion over the decades played a key role in helping establish India as a trusted and quality partner for global corporations, evangalise the importance of technology adoption for India, push for greater research in academic institutions, bring awareness on the importance of local language and hardware industry in India,” it further read.
As Chairman of NASSCOM in 1994-95, Kohli led the industry and NASSCOM to build global partnerships in key markets, showcase the opportunity for IT services from India and build a culture of collaboration in the industry members. His engagement with NASSCOM continued through the years providing guidance and support on key industry issues and opportunities.
Born on March 19, 1924, in Peshwar, he did his BA and B.SC from the Government College for Men in Lahore under Punjab University. Later he went to Queen’s University in Canada and completed B.Sc (Hons) in Electrical Engineering in 1948. He also did his MS in Mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1950.
Kohli returned to India in 1951 and joined Tata Electric Companies and rose to become its Director in 1970. During this tenure, he was responsible for the use of digital computers for power system design and control.
In September 1969, Kohli became the general manager of TCS. In 1994, he became deputy chairman of the company and the rest is history. In 1991 he actively worked to bring IBM to India as part of Tata-IBM.
He retired in 1999 at the age of 75.