Pioneer of IT outsourcing, Patni Computer Systems founder Narendra Patni passes away

One of the first to enter an industry that has since grown to the a multi-million dollar one, founder of Patni Computer Systems, Narendra Patni passed away in the US on Tuesday before he underwent a surgery.

The Business Standard reported that the 71-year-old Patni was in Boston for a surgical procedure but passed away due to cardiac arrest before it could be completed. The funeral was held on Thursday.

He is survived by his wifePoonam and children Anirudh and Ambika.

After studying in Roorkee Engineering College, Patni went on to study further at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and also got a master's degree in business administration from MIT Sloan School of Management.

Patni has largely stayed away from the spotlight. Ibnlive image

Patni has largely stayed away from the spotlight. Ibnlive image

Patni, who was working for technology research firm Forrester,experimented with converting handwritten data into magnetic tapeswith his wife Poonam in their apartment in Massachusettsin 1972 and went on tostart up a firm known as Data Conversion. The firm wasexpanded by the couple with an office in Pune that employed 20 people and was the predecessor to what was to bePatni Computer Services.

With his brothers Ashok and Gajendra, Patni started Patni Computer Systems in 1978 and among the employees at the firm included Narayana Murthy, S Gopalakrishnan, Infosys and Nandan Nilekani.

Murthy, Gopalakrishnan and Nilekani went on to form Infosys later.

Patni was widely credited with being the driving force behind the growth of the company with Murthy saying that he was able to bring out the best in them and was one of the "finest bosses anyone could have".

"It was family-controlled but not run like family business. It was not just about money," Pradip P Shah, who was on the board of Patni, told the Economic Times in 2012.

However, while other competitors like Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services zoomed ahead in the late 1990s, Patni rose but not as quickly but had a dedicated list of clients.

Patni was rarely quoted in the media, even when the company was listed or a battle over stake sale emerged between him and his brothers. In 2006 when the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Patni was estimated to be the 37th richest Indian with a net worth of $650 million.

At its peak, Patni hadover 15,000 employees and 23 offices across the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, as well as offshore development centres in eight cities in India and had over 400 Fortune 1000 companies.

However as differences between Patni and his brothers grew,iGate acquired Patni Computer Systems for $1.2 billion, or Rs 6,400 crore in May 2012 and the company was delisted.

A day after selling off the company to iGate, a much smaller company in terms of turnover, he reportedly spent his day in the office alone and didn't meet anyone. He remained out of the spotlight thereafter and while his son had reportedly shown an interest in starting a new business, Patni stayed away from the pressures of the corporate world.


Updated Date: Jun 06, 2014 11:35 AM