HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Management guru C K Prahalad dead

IANS  Chennai, April 17, 2010
First Published: 19:51 IST(17/4/2010) | Last Updated: 19:53 IST(17/4/2010)

Internationally renowned management guru Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahalad died on Friday in San Diego after a brief illness, his family said on Saturday. He was 69.


A professor at the University of Michigan, Prahalad was considered one of the top 10 management thinkers and was well known for his book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. It is this theory that many corporations are following in global emerging markets.

He is survived by his wife Gayatri and two children, Murali Krishna and Deepa.

Born into a big family - he was one of the nine children of his parents - Prahalad joined Union Carbide after obtaining a degree in physics from the University of Madras.

Later did a post graduation course at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) and went to Havard Business School for Doctor of Business Administration degree in 1975.

After teaching in IIM-A he went back to the US and joined University of Michigan.

He focussed his research efforts on corporate strategy and consulted several global and Indian corporates.

"If there was a Nobel Prize for management then Prahalad would have won that for India," Gopal Srinivasan, director of TVS Capital Funds told IANS.

"Prahalad was passionate about India getting its rightful place in the comity of nations. He always used to say that India got independence in 1947 but not the freedom. Encouraging entrepreneurship in India is the way to get that freedom," Srinivasan added.

An original thinker, Prahalad was not only able to come up with a new concept but was able to link the dots and justify his theory.

Prahalad was the first recipient of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Award for contributions to management and public administration in 2000. He was also awarded the country's third highest civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan, in 2009.

Prahalad did try his hand in business and founded Praja Inc. However, he sold the company off soon after.

In an interaction with IANS, Prahalad called himself as a serial entrepreneur with his reputation as his risk capital.

"I generate ideas and sell them as books. If the ideas are of value to the customer, the book sells well or else it bombs. I risk my reputation," he said.

Prahalad authored several books like "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profit", "Competing for the Future" with Gary Hamel, "The Future of Competition" with Venkat Ramaswamy, "The New Age of Innovation" with M.S.Krishnan.

He also brought to the world's focus Madurai-based Aravind Eye Hospital's system of cataract operations.

"Prahalad saw things beyond. He visited Aravind Eye Hospital a couple of times and spoke to our management," Aravind Srinivasan, administrator of the hospital, told IANS.

"In Prahalad's death India has lost one of its great sons," Srinivasan remarked.

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