Nandan Nilekani to Speak at Yale

Nandan Nilekani, Co-Chairman of the Board of Infosys Technologies, will speak at Yale University on May 1 at 3 p.m. in the auditorium of Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

Nilekani’s talk, “India at the Crossroads: The Road Ahead,” is hosted by the South Asian Society, the South Asian Business Forum of the Yale School of Management, the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, and the South Asian Studies Council at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale.

Nilekani is also author of the recently published book Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation (Penguin, 2009). In the introduction to Imagining India, Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, credits Nilekani with inspiring Friedman’s best-selling book The World Is Flat.

“There are not a lot of executives around the world who are known simply by their first names,” Friedman writes. “Silicon Valley has ‘Steve’ — as in Jobs, Seattle has ‘Bill’ — as in Gates. Omaha has ‘Warren’ — as in Buffett. And Bangalore has ‘Nandan’ — as in Nilekani.”

Nilekani received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Bombay in 1978. In 1981, along with six colleagues, Nilekani founded Infosys Technologies, which has been among India’s leading global companies. Today, the company has more than 100,000 employees, as well as offices and development centers in 22 countries.

Before becoming the Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2007, Nilekani served from March 2002 to June 2007 as the company’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director. He previously held the posts of President and Chief Operating Officer of Infosys. He also has served as a director on the board since the company’s inception in 1981.

In January 2006, Nilekani became one of the youngest entrepreneurs to join 20 global leaders on the prestigious World Economic Forum Foundation Board. He was cited in 2006 as one of the “100 most influential people in the world” by Time magazine.

Nilekani served on the Board of Directors of Reuters as a non-executive member from January 2007 until the merger of Reuters with Thomson in April 2008. He is the Vice Chairman of The Conference Board, Inc., an international research and business membership organization; he serves on the Board of Directors of the Peterson Institute for International Economics; and he is a member of the Board of Governors of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations. Nilekani is a member of the Board of Governors of IIT Bombay and serves as the Co-chairman of the IIT Bombay Heritage Fund. Nilekani served on the President of Yale University’s Council on International Activities; and he and his wife, Rohini, catalyzed the 2008 launch of the Yale India Initiative to increase the University’s engagement with India and South Asia.

In India, Nilekani is a member of the National Knowledge Commission and he also is 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 has been involved in various initiatives of the Indian central and state governments. He was the Chairman of the Government of India’s IT Task Force for power, and has also served as a member of the subcommittee of the Securities and Exchange Board of India that dealt with issues related to insider trading, and as a member of the Reserve Bank of India’s Advisory Group on corporate governance.

Nilekani is the recipient of several awards. He was the Forbes Asia “Businessman of the Year” in 2006. He, along with Infosys founder (and currently non-executive chairman) N.R. Narayana Murthy, received Fortune magazine’s “Asia’s Businessmen of the Year 2003” award. He was named among the “World’s Most Respected Business Leaders” in 2002 and 2003, according to a global survey by Financial Times and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Nilekani was also awarded the Corporate Citizen of the Year award at the Asia Business Leader Awards (2004) organized by CNBC. In 2005, Nilekani was awarded the prestigious Joseph Schumpeter Prize for innovative services in economy, economic sciences and politics.

In 2006, Nilekani was conferred the Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civilian honors awarded by the Government of India.

RELATED LINK: India’s Potential, Seen from the Inside by Harry Hurt III, New York Times

PRESS CONTACT: George Joseph, india@yale.edu

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