How FC Kohli paved the way for the Indian IT revolution


K Ananth Krishnan would often meet FC Kohli while working at the TCS office in the Air India building at Nariman Point in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Kohli personally poured tea for him when he visited his home. office, even if it gave its opinion on the use of technology for the good of society.

“He was incredibly tech savvy and very passionate about several things such as the Indian language, computers, computer hardware, electronics, using technology for social good and helping the little ones. academic institutions. But there is one specific area that I would like to call that is close to my heart – TCS Research and Innovation. He was the main driving force behind the creation of TCS Research and Innovation, ”said Krishnan, who is now CTO at TCS.

What started in 1968 as a new management and technology consulting firm in India has evolved into an IT giant known today as Tata Consultancy Services. This feat was achieved under the direction of Padma Bhushan Shri Faqir Chand Kohli. November 26, 2021 marks one year since the death of the founder and first CEO of TCS. For more than two decades, the visionary leader shed light on software development, earning him the epithet of “Father of India’s Computer Industry”.

FC Kohli, who joined Tata Electric Co in 1951 to set up the country’s first load-sharing center, was invited by JRD Tata to establish TCS in 1969. The brilliant technocrat saw the potential of TCS and its strategy to the evolution of TCS has had an impact on the IT industry in India.

Surya Kant, President of North America, said: “Rightly appreciated the father of the Indian software industry, Mr. Kohli saw the potential early on. He knew that a clear differentiator was needed to create a solid foundation – and he instilled “excellence in everything we do”. He had a stern demeanor but underneath was a leader who loved his people very much, exhorted them and made them proud of their achievements. For example, when I was sent to Japan to start TCS operations in Tokyo, he was very proud of my “total immersion” in the language and business etiquette. A few years later he greatly appreciated the prestigious British Computer Society Award for our transformative work for Sun Life Insurance Company using our tools developed at TRDDC, Pune.

In the early years, TCS supported local banks in the computerization of inter-agency reconciliations. In 1972, TCS computerized the Mumbai telephone directory. As the first CEO of TCS, FC Kohli inspired many people and paved the way for the Indian IT revolution. His vigor and insight into what TCS could have become was reinforced by his vision of the IT sector in India as a tool for national development. Since its inception, FC Kohli has supported TCS by enabling the organization to keep pace with the ever-changing technology and leverage it to meet customer needs.

Ritu Anand, Head of Leadership and Diversity, said: “In my three decades of working in the industry, I have met a few leaders who have made a deep impact on me, my work and maybe even my life. . Few can compare to the leadership force that FC Kohli was, guiding me with a gentle hand or pushing me firmly, but still helping me move forward. During my years of working in human resources and people management, several learning examples have served me well, and even today I continue to value the little life lessons he taught me. in its subtle way. Legends like Mr. Kohli leave their mark in so many lives, influencing us, enriching our minds, and helping us grow in subtle but meaningful ways. A year later, his legacy lives on through the positive changes he influenced.

One of the first decisions FC Kohli made at TCS was to recruit almost the entire class from the MTech Electrical Engineering Department at IIT-Kanpur, majoring in Computer Science. His approach and dedication to ensuring TCS rises to the top has yielded results in countless ways. TCS, which started with a few hundred professionals under the leadership of the great FC Kohli, is today a family of 5,28,000 people. The lives and legacies of leaders like FC Kohli explain how India earned its place as a global leader in IT.

Manoj Indulkar, India Operations Manager at TCS, said: “As someone closely associated with the work TCS has done to transform India over the past five decades, I would like to state that under the leadership of Mr. Kohli, Since its inception, TCS always brought innovative solutions and harnessed the power of IT for Indian companies. Whether it is the former Unit Trust of India or Tata Power or the various banks, the IT adoption journey of these Indian giants began with TCS under the leadership of the CEOs mentored by Mr. Kohli. TCS has always been integrated into the delivery of truly transformational IT systems in India through the leadership set by Mr. Kohli. Mr. Kohli’s legacy continues to be a part of us all at TCS. Whether it’s transforming microfinance in India or the government systems of a developing African country to deliver complex systems to Wall Street, TCS can meet any challenge thrown at it – thanks to the belief that we can do it – the belief that Mr. Kohli nurtured in us. We will continue to develop talent and, more importantly, develop leaders who will continue to advance this legacy. “


Margie D. Carlisle