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A cut above

NR Narayana Murthy,
Chief Mentor, Infosys Technologies

If there’s one business leader in recent times who has effectively molded himself into a statesmanlike role beyond the world of business, it has to be Murthy. After building Infosys on a rock solid foundation of ethics and governance, he has gone on to represent not only his company, but also the country’s new face of progress, to the world.

He’s the man who put Bangalore on the global map and gave the Indian middle-class the power to dream big. With no mentors and no godfathers to rely on, Narayana Murthy’s rise to eminence in the last decade is the stuff that legends are made of.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that he’s been voted the most powerful business person in India. Rising three notches from last year to covet the numero uno title in this year’s rankings, NR Narayana Murthy embodies the qualities most business leaders aspire for. Blending old-fashioned values with shrewd business acumen and visionary thinking, Murthy has come to define the standards of personal integrity and corporate governance for India Inc.

At the height of the controversy surrounding the IIMs, Murthy was among a handful of Indian corporate head honchos who stood up to the HRD ministry’s decision to drastically slash fees at the institutes. It’s perhaps this show of conviction that has propelled Murthy into the top of the league of most powerful CEOs.

For the past two decades, Murthy has led the IT charge for India as co-founder and CEO of Infosys. More recently, though, after donning the mantle of chairman and ‘chief mentor’ at Infosys, he’s moved on to bigger things.

Handing over the operational reins of Infosys to co-founder and CEO Nandan Nilekani, Murthy now spends most of his time traversing the globe serving on the boards of organisations and premier business schools such as Wharton and the Tuck School of Business in New York, and hobnobbing with heads of state on world affairs.

He serves in an advisory capacity to a variety of government and business committees, including the central board of the Reserve Bank of India and the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry.

With a squeaky clean image and impeccable credentials, Murthy is also considered a perfect role model not only within the business community, but outside it as well — recently he was even rumored to have been in the reckoning for President of India.

Hailing from a middle class family, Murthy has always made it a point to lead by example. His power lies in the fact that he is respected all across India not for his wealth or clout but for the fact that he’s able to speak his mind freely and fearlessly no matter who the opposition or what the circumstances are.

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