Shiv Nadar was born and raised in mofussil Tamil Nadu, in an India awakening to its first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru’s "Tryst with Destiny". Studying his way through the Indian schooling and graduate system, a scholastically-gifted Nadar confronted both the harsh realities and the opportunities of a struggling Indian state before he saw his first big town, Chennai, at the age of 21. His story is both a reflection of the times he lived in as well as the future that he always dreamt of shaping.
Nadar was part of the elite DCM management trainee system where he met several of the people with whom he was soon to impact an entire industry as a pioneer of modern computing. In 1976, eight young men left DCM to create HCL in a Delhi Barsati “akin to a garage startup” with a compelling vision – that the microprocessor would change the world.
A visionary, Nadar made HCL an engine of invention turning dreams into reality. HCL, under Nadar’s leadership, revolutionized Indian technology and product innovation with many world firsts to its credit – the first 8-bit microprocessor-based computer in 1978, the first Relational Database Management System in 1983 before some of its global peers, client- server architecture in 1984, world’s first fine-grained multi-processor UNIX installation in 1989, among others. A pioneer in Remote Infrastructure Management, HCL was instrumental in implementing and managing the infrastructure backbone of one of India’s tallest financial institutions – the National Stock Exchange. HCL played a key role in supporting India’s telecom revolution through the creation of the largest mobile distribution network with Nokia. HCL Technologies, which spun out of HCL’s R&D unit, is currently a top IT services company in India and a global leader in Engineering & R&D Services with a game changing business model.
Nadar has made daring forays based on his conviction of the future. HCL created several valuable Joint Ventures and alliances with marquee partners such as Hewlett Packard, Cisco, Perot Systems, Deutsche Bank and Toshiba among others, to emerge as a global technology enterprise. In the last three decades, HCL has evolved into a $8 billion global enterprise with over 120,000 professionals from 140 diverse nationalities, who operate from 70 countries, including over 500 points of presence in India.
After playing a key role in putting India on the global technology map, HCL in 2014 diversified and forayed into healthcare, an area of paramount national importance. HCL Healthcare aspires to be the nation’s leading healthcare company by providing innovative medical services, products and training to meet the growing demand for quality healthcare.
In 1994, Nadar established what he believed was closest to his heart - the philanthropic Shiv Nadar Foundation and created its first initiative in Chennai, the SSN Institutions, that is a top ranked engineering college. Today the Foundation is a significant driver of social change and transformational education through its landmark institutions spanning the entire education spectrum from schools to universities. VidyaGyan, an innovation in school education, reaches out to the ‘top of the bottom of the pyramid’ and creates leaders from across the cross- section of the society. A young and a unique research-led interdisciplinary university, the Shiv Nadar University has been identified as India’s first Ivy League institution.
In recognition of his pioneering role in business and philanthropy in India and across the globe, Nadar has received several honours and accolades in the past, notable being the Padma Bhushan from the President of India in 2008, the BNP Paribas Grand Prize for Individual Philanthropy in 2013, the AIMA Managing India Corporate Citizen Award, the ICSI Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in Corporate Governance and the Golden Peacock Award for Social Leadership in 2014. He was also named the Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year in 2015 by Forbes. This year Shiv Nadar was named as the most generous Indian by the Hurun India Philanthropy List 2016, a ranking of the most generous individuals from India.
Shiv Nadar often says that he is a product of education. He is restless, passionate and a creative institution builder who also likes to quote Andy Grove by stating "Only the Paranoid Survive".
Nadar stays in Delhi with his wife Kiran. Kiran Nadar, an internationally renowned bridge player and an avid art collector, has established the iconic Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, India’s largest private philanthropic art museum.