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A Titan of Indian Industry: Vineet Nayyar (1938-2024)

Vineet Nayyar, a pioneering leader in the Indian tech industry and a key figure behind Tech Mahindra's rise, passed away at 85 on May 16, 2024.

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Shubhendu Parth
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Vineet Nayyar

Vineet Nayyar

The Indian tech industry mourns the passing of a seminal figure, Vineet Nayyar, who breathed his last in Delhi on 16 May 2024 at the age of 85. A distinguished leader and prescient architect for several IT powerhouses, Nayyar's story is inextricably linked to the phoenix-like rise of Tech Mahindra.

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His journey began not in boardrooms but in the hallowed halls of public service. A Haryana cadre IAS officer, Nayyar served with unwavering dedication as District Magistrate and Secretary of Rural Development. His astute intellect soon propelled him to the World Bank, where he led the Energy Department for East Asia and the Pacific, shaping energy policy across the region.

Nayyar's influence was globally transformative. He spearheaded the World Bank's first energy mission to China, leaving an indelible mark on their energy sector. His efforts in infrastructure privatization (Philippines), financial system reorganization (South Korea), and East Asian bond markets showcased his remarkable foresight in economic and energy policy.

In 1986, Nayyar returned to India, where he was assigned the task of establishing the public-sector company Gas Authority of India (GAIL). As its first Chairman, his visionary leadership laid the groundwork for the HBJ pipeline, gas fractionation plants, and the Auriya gas-based petrochemical plant, solidifying his place as a pioneer in India's energy sector.

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A pivotal shift came in 1986 with his entry into IT services. Nayyar joined HCL Technologies, later co-founding HCL Perot Systems, where he navigated complex challenges and steered the company towards a successful IPO.

In 2005, Tech Mahindra found its guiding star in Vineet Nayyar. His strategic mind masterminded the acquisition of the beleaguered Satyam Computer Services in 2009. With unwavering resolve, post its acquisition, Nayyar stabilised Mahindra Satyam, restored trust, and integrated it into Tech Mahindra, which has evolved to become a global IT giant and among the top 10 Indian IT services companies.

Beyond the corporate sphere, Nayyar emerged as a steadfast anchor during turbulent times. In 2018, he brought much-needed equilibrium and governance oversight to the IL&FS crisis.

Nayyar's contributions were widely celebrated. Nasscom lauded his leadership, while Anand Mahindra acknowledged his role in realising Mahindra University's vision. Former colleagues remember him as a wise counsellor and a steadfast friend.

He is survived by his wife Reva. Vineet Nayyar's passing leaves a void not just in the industry but in the hearts of all who knew him. His legacy of visionary leadership, groundbreaking innovation, and unwavering commitment will continue to inspire generations to come, a testament to the lasting impact of a truly remarkable man.

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