Shiv Nadar: A Golden Chapter in the Books of Indian IT


It is quite inspiring to see the success of certain entrepreneurs who start from the scratch and go on to reach the pinnacle. Shiv Nadar (Founder & Chairman, HCL (HCLTECH.NS)) is one such person, he ventured into IT sector when India had not carved a niche for itself in the tech world and built an empire that is 1.502 trillion entities. The young Shiv after completing his engineering from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, initiated his career as a management trainee at DCM; it is here he met his future partners  Ajai Chowdhry (Ex-Chairman, HCL Infosystems), Arjun Malhotra (CEO & Chairman, Headstrong), Subhash Arora, Yogesh Vaidya, S. Raman, Mahendra Pratap and DS Puri, with whom he began his own venture.

The Moist Beginning

Initially the partners came up with Microcomp, teledigital calculators named ‘Televista’, with a vision that microprocessor would bring about a lot of changes in the world. This eventually led to the establishment of HCL in 1976 with an initial capital of 1, 87,000.  Under the guidance of Shiv, the company gradually reaped its benefits. The void left behind by the IBM’s exit from India also gave HCL a wider access to the market space. In 1984, Shiv began to build out personal computer solutions named ‘Busybee’ – a UNIX based solution. By late 80s, the company had collected revenue of 100 crore and stood as No.1 Company in India. Over the time, HCL steadily transformed itself from an IT hardware company to an IT enterprise.   

After topping the list nationally, Shiv was awaiting a global opportunity. As a result, HCL America was born in 1989, but Shiv’s wrong market analysis led to its fiasco. Post this, HCL and HP teamed up to build a joint venture- HCL HP Ltd. The joint venture intended to target the local computing markets; this also marked the HCLs first outsourced Research and Development. In the mid-90s, the company had 40 subsidiaries, while Shiv’s attention had also traversed from IT hardware to IT services. With the new evolution, the joint venture was associated to the HCL Consulting and the company obtained its new name HCL Technologies, and further the joint venture was eventually called off.

In 1999, Shiv made HCL public, while it stood second among the largest IT companies. After the arrival of internet, HCL could not match the pace with its rivals, hence Shiv decided to link up all the acquisitions with HCL. Its acquisition includes Deutsche Software Limited and Apollo Contact center, but this didn’t seem to help much as HCL comparatively performed low in this relation as of 2005. This led to the consolidation of the five companies of HCL namely HCL Technologies, HCL Infosystems, HCL Comnet, HCL Perot and NIIT into two – HCL Technologies & HCL Infosystems. In 2013, Shiv onboarded his sole kid Roshini Nadar, as the Vice Chairman of the company.

An Ardent beliver in the art of Giving

Philanthropic works add in great benefits to one’s business. Shiv is most noted for his charitable works. He was also named as ‘Most Philanthropic Indian 2016’ by Hurun Research Institute’s most generous individual. In 1994, he set up Shiv Nadar Foundation, which supports various rural and urban areas in the field of education and art by establishing many institutes across the country (SSN Institutions, VidyaGyan, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art are the institutes and museum set up by Shiv Nadar Foundation). He even contributed 630 crore for the charitable activities through the foundation. Shiv also presented 1 million worth HCL shares to his college – SSN College of Engineering. Free scholarship and donation of computer and other equipments to VidyaGyan’s students also includes to his charity works.

Awards & Honour

Shiv, for his tremendous contribution to the IT industry, was honored by the Government of India with the country’s third highest civilian award – Padma Bhushan in 2008.  Madras University presented him the Honorary Doctorate Degree in 2007. The same year he was also recognized as the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year. Shiv received CNBC Business Excellence Award; later in 2010 he was honored with Dataquest Lifetime Achievement Award. Shiv was ranked No.16 in India’s most powerful people of 2017 by India Today amongst many such honors to his name.

Over four decades, the company has seen many ups and downs but still remains one among the leading companies in the IT industry globally, through the constant guidelines of Shiv Nadar, who says, “Adaptability and constant innovation is key to the survival of any company operating in a competitive market”.

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