Faqir Chand Kohli, founding CEO of TCS and father of Indian IT industry, dies

FC Kohli, who joined TCS in 1969 at the behest of JRD Tata, also served as the chairman of IT industry body Nasscom.
A file photo of FC Kohli
A file photo of FC Kohli
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Faqir Chand C Kohli, the first CEO of Tata Consultancy Services, also considered the father of the Indian IT industry passed away on Thursday. Kohli, a Padma Bhushan awardee, was 96. He joined TCS in 1969 at the behest of JRD Tata. TCS said in a statement that it mourns the passing of Kohli. TCS said in a statement that he pivoted first into management consultancy, and then over the next two decades, into software development, helping the organization navigate multiple technology waves over two and a half decades by “continually investing in people and staying relevant to customers.”

According to TCS’ website, FC Kohli, was brought in from the Tata Electric Companies as a General Manager to run TCS. He stepped down as CEO in 1996 and continued to play an active role in promoting technology to solve the country’s social problems, TCS said.   

N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons said that FC Kohli laid the foundations for India’s ‘spectacular IT revolution’ and set the stage for the dynamic modern economy we enjoy today.

“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 areas far-ranging from adult literacy, water purification, software engineering, software automation, complex-systems and cybernetics,” he said.

“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,” N Chandrasekaran added.

From IT leaders to politicians, many offered condolences at his passing.

Azim Premji, Founder Chairman, Wipro also recollected FC Kohli as 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,” he reportedly said.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications, Electronics & Information Technology said, “Sad to learn about the demise of Faqir Chand Kohli Ji. He was a visionary who made pioneering efforts to develop the IT industry in India. His commitment, hard work and foresight shall continue to inspire the industry forever. My sincere condolences.”

FC Kohli was the chairman of IT industry body Nasscom from 1994-95 and reportedly led the industry to build partnerships in key countries across the globe.

Nasscom said, “A true visionary and the father of the Indian software industry - Shri FC Kohli will always be remembered for his pioneering contributions to the sector and remarkable leadership at NASSCOM. Our condolences to his family.”

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