Faqir Chand Kohli, IT sector visionary and the founding chief executive of sector leader Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), passed away on Thursday at the age of 96.
Kohli was known as the Father of the Indian IT Industry. Kohli pioneered India’s ‘Technology Revolution’ and helped the country build the $100 billion IT Industry. He was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honor, in 2002 for his contributions to the Indian software industry. He was a pioneer of the country’s technology revolution and helped India build its USD 100 billion IT industry. Kohli believed in grooming leaders and built a generation of Indian information technology professionals who went on to industry-leading positions.
Born on March 19, 1924, in Peshwar, he did his BA and BSc from the Government College for Men in Lahore under Punjab University. Later he went to Queen’s University in Canada and completed BSc (Hons) in Electrical Engineering in 1948. He also did his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1950. In 1969, then Tata group chairman JRD Tata asked Kohli to set up TCS after Tata Electric installed a computer system to control the electric line between Mumbai and Pune. After internally serving a few of the Tata Group companies, TCS went on to sign its first contract with Burroughs corporation for software services, in 1972. He would go on to become the company’s first CEO and also serve as its deputy chairman. He would lead the company for the next three decades before stepping down as the CEO in 1996. The company is the largest Indian IT services company by market capitalization and the most valuable company within the Tata group as of 2020.