Dr. Ganesh Natarajan

"Creativity, Community & Collaboration"


Dr.Ganesh Natarajan

Chairman: 5F World, Global Talent Track,
Pune City Connect, and SVP India

Founder: CAIA-Center For AI And Advanced Analytics,
Kalzoom Advisors, and NES

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    Dr. Ganesh Natarajan is Executive Chairman and Founder of 5F World, a platform for Digital Start-ups, Skills and Social Ventures in the country. He is also Founder of Global Talent Track and Skills Alpha and co-founder of two Indo-US Joint Ventures – Kalzoom Advisors and the Center for AI and Advanced Analytics.

    Ganesh has a Masters’ in Industrial Engineering from NITIE Mumbai, PhD from IIT Bombay and AMP from Harvard Business School. He has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award of IIT Bombay and NITIE and has been recognized by EY and the Asia Pacific HR Forum for excellence in technology entrepreneurship and people-centric leadership. He has completed two successful CEO tenures over twenty-five years at APTECH and Zensar Technologies. Harvard Business School has written and teaches two case studies on Dr. Ganesh Natarajan and his success through Vision Communities.

    Ganesh has recently been elected by the shareholders of State Bank of India to serve on its Board of Directors. He also serves on the Boards of Principal Asset Management, Hinduja Global Services, LHI Digital, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, Singapore, Systech Los Angeles and Social Venture Partners (SVP) International, Seattle. He is Chairman and Board Director of Social Venture Partners India and Pune City Connect.

    Ganesh has been Chairman of Industry association NASSCOM and NASSCOM Foundation and various National Committees of the Confederation of Indian Industry and the All India Management Association. He has also been President of the HBS Club of India. He chaired NASSCOM’s first US event in New York in 2016. He is keenly interested in the role of digital technologies for re-engineering processes in the corporate and social sector and is an author of eight books and numerous articles. He lives in Pune, India.

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    Ganesh & NES

    Natarajan Education Society(NES) has been established by Dr Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman of the National Knowledge Committee of the CII. member of the Chairmen's Council of NASSCOM and a member of the Management Board of the multi-billion dollar RPG Enterprises where he heads the IT sector and is Vice Chairman of Zensar Technologies Ltd. NES has been named after Ganesh's father the late Shri Ganapathy Iyer Natarajan, a noble individual who worked tirelessly to bring about some hope and aspiration through his "Seva Kendra" set up in Tatisilwai, one of the small vilages of Jharkhand.

    An innovator with a track record of success in Consultancy, Education and Global Information Technology, Dr Ganesh Natarajan is building a team of committed professionals who will create and implement innovative ideas for Education and Technology development to transform the future for many young Indians.

    All the projects NES undertakes are designed to increase the number of young people who possess market-relevant skills and to ensure higher levels of economic productivity through skilled individuals and innovation.

    NES seeks to use innovative pedagogy and technology to bring the best global standards of skill development to the world's under-privileged citizens.

Awards and Recognitions

Ganesh was named 'CEO of the Year' by the Asia Pacific HR Conference in 1999 and received the Asia HRD Congress Award for Contributions to the Organisation through HR in 2005. Ganesh was also the finalist at the Ernst & Young 2005 Award where he was recognized for exceptional entrepreneurship. Having been a part of two major success stories in IT Training and Consulting earlier, NIIT and APTECH, Ganesh grew the company's revenues fifty times during his ten year stint as CEO of Aptech and listed it on the Indian and London Stock Exchanges. Ganesh is the National Chair for Confederation of Indian Industries - IT and ITES Committee and a fellow of the Computer Society of India. He also chairs the Higher Education forum of the Confederation of Indian Industries in Western India. He is a member of the Board of Governors of NITIE Mumbai and member of the Executive Council and Chairmen's Council of NASSCOM.

In The News

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Reform is the key to growth
16th March 2015
The Free Press Journal

The sixth annual conference of the Higher Education Forum saw experts deliberating on the key issues facing the sector today, reports Shraddha Kamdar

The Inaugural Ceremony witnessed the thoughts and debates of several luminaries with extensive experience in different walks of life. Prof. Isaac Jacob, Associate Professor, SIMSR delivered the welcome address with a warm welcome to all the delegates and students. Dr. A. K. Sen Gupta, Founder and Convener of HEF, in his address on the reforms and agenda for the future, elaborated on the serious concerns he has arrived at after observing the country's urban and semi-urban areas in details for this cause. He talked for three aspects that heavily impact the growth of the sector today - namely the extent of independence that institutions have, the extent of the quality of the primary and secondary education in the country and the extent of the linkages of higher education with the society and industry. "Much remains to be done in many areas, with everything being regulated right from the fees that can be charged to the curriculum and the qualifications of the faculty to be hired to the incentives offered," he said. He also provided the silver lining, in the form of a circular reported to have been floated by the HRD ministry to the Central Universities allowing them the freedom to hire faculty that they deem fit for a period of three years. He said at least it was a start in the direction of some freedom. He also thanked all the core committee members and volunteers for their tireless work over two months to make the annual seminar possible.

Prof. Indira Parikh, Founder President of FLAME, Pune, in her academic theme talk on inculcating innovation on higher education, delivered a few thoughts as the entity of higher education independent of students and teachers. She beautifully brought out the sentiment of this entity right from its existence to the present day. She spoke of how institutions have emerged and evolved and how learning anchored. "Higher education is standing at a threshold and a cross road at the same time. What is beyond the threshold is something new, and we are not comfortable with it. Unless we cross the threshold and enter the new landscape of education, we will not be able to pick a path at the crossroads," she said, highlighting that the new generation of students is different from its predecessors and will not shy away from looking elsewhere for a meaningful education experience if we are not able to provide it.

One of the wittiest addresses of the day was delivered by Jagdeep Kapoor, CMD, Samsika Marketing Consultants, in his talk on strategic marketing towards branding of higher education institutions. He provided a simple explanation on how human beings consume brands rather than things. He followed it up with the Nine-Brand Shashtra developed by him, the basis of which states that brand equals to trust. Kapoor also provided effective tips towards institutional branding, ending with an important point - to exceed people's expectations.

This was followed by a passionate address by T. V. Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Manipl Global Education, on the future of higher education. His words were more compelling with the statistics he provided and by the mere virtue of numbers, the audience was awed by what he had to say. He offered that the current number of three crore students in colleges is going to go up to seven crore in a matter of only 15 years, by 2030, when India will have the largest student population in higher education in the world. He emphasised the need to be prepared for it, and provided his insights on the changes required.

Dr. Ramamurthy Natarajan, Former Director, IIT Madras and Former Chairman, AICTE, was eloquent in presenting his research, findings and experiences in the sector, as he delivered the keynote address on the future of regulation in Indian higher education institutes. He negated some of the views and provided the reasons for the necessity of regulation.

The seminar then eased on to its two panel discussions for the afternoon (see below). Towards the end, before the Valedictory Session, the HEF Innovation Awards were presented under different categories to education institutions (see sidebar).

The dynamic Dr. Rajan Saxena, Vice Chancellor, NMIMS University delivered the valedictory address on the future challenges and reforms agenda in higher education in India. He talked of how innovation is the need of the hour, since we are in a highly turbulent education environment from the perspective of politicization of education, even as we stand o the threshold of the new education policy likely to be announced by the government in 2016. He termed autonomy as a Utopian dream, owing to the continuous interventions that crop up from multiple bodies in every sphere of education in our country. Admitting that the government cannot be wished away, he laid out the principles of the kind of autonomy warranted by institutions today, with which they would be able to create varied experiences for the students today. He also touched upon the points of senior citizen education and women empowerment through our institutions.

The seminar concluded with the presidential address by Dr. Ganesh Natarajan, Vice Chairman and CEO, Zensar Technologies. He highlighted his feeling of optimism for Indian higher education and the reasons for it, and provided room for the audience to hope for a brighter future. He laid down the reason for his sense of optimism, which was rooted in the youth force as well as the women workforce of the country. He presented the case for digital literacy (being able to operate a device, any device) so that the population is not left at the mercy of the asymmetry of information. He said that total digital literacy would at least make India a land where nobody would be denied an opportunity for want of access! His concluding remark, made for perfect food for thought for the dispersing audience: "Do not allow any past cynicism to affect the future of this country!"

Tracking the journey of Ganesh Natarajan, Vice-Chairman, Zensar Technologies
ET Bureau
28th March 2014
The Economic Times


Growing up 12 km outside Ranchi, I went to a Christian missionary school & the quality of education wasn't great. We were taught not to have ambitions beyond what you are trained for and we were trained to be very good in English. My confidence to communicate with people, my leadership, everything stems from this

1974-79: Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - This was at the peak of the Jayaprakash Narayan movement and during the first two years we hardly had any classes

1979-1981: NITIE Mumbai - Post-graduation in Industrial Engineering

1999-2005: IIT-Mumbai - PhD on Knowledge Management at Zensar

2006: Harvard Business School - Advanced Management Programme


Used to teach information management at Jamnalal Bajaj, Mumbai while working at DPS at age 27 Authored four business books and four non-business publications


I'm very bad in a crisis, I get very stressed. When there's no crisis, you have to get people to bond so that when there is a crisis and there's stress, there's still an underlying environment of liking each other.


There are strong bonds among the employees at Zensar and this has come to be known as the love culture.


People inherently want to be good, you have to believe in the good in people


My father, who would work ten hours a day, come home and then head off for some cultural or social commitment; he was an active member of society

KK Nohria:

He was MD, Crompton Greaves and within three months knew my name and where I came from. He would hold workshops where he encouraged people to talk.


1981-85: Crompton Greaves, Nasik

1981-83: Planning Officer: This was my first job as a management trainee and I was in charge of materials planning

1983-85: Planning and Systems Executive: I got into IT by accident. The company got a computer and I was probably the only one who knew what to do with it and was tasked with building their first production planning system. This got me interested in computer applications

1985-88: DPS, Mumbai: General Manager: This was a joint venture by a data processing company and I grew the start-up from scratch to a Rs 7 cr business when I left. We did software development for companies like Hindustan Lever, Lakme and Voltas.

1988-1991: NIIT

1988-1990: Regional Manager Mumbai: I was hired to build the NIIT brand and presence in Mumbai

1990-1991: Head, Corporate Consulting and Training Division, New Delhi: My wife Uma was heading the Education division for NIIT and between us we managed about 75 per cent of the company's business. Those were fun times

1991-2001: Apple Industries/Aptech, CEO Joined as CEO of Computer Education by Apple Industries Limited: I created the Aptech brand two years later when Apple (the US company) started getting edgy about their brand name. It went from being a Rs 10 crore business with nine centres to over Rs 700 crore with 1000 centers in 40 countries. I learnt everything I know about people management and motivation here. Spent a year on the board of Hexaware (also owned by Atul Nishar of Aptech) and got interested in the software export business.

2001- present: Zensar: Vice-Chairman and CEO: Grown the business from a Rs 40 crore entity to over Rs 2000 crore with a strong HR and people focus.


Getting things done, being ruthless when it comes to taking decisions but never at the cost of people's emotions & sensitivities.


It's a cliche, but I want to change the lives of at least ten people each year and I think I've managed to do that over the last 15 years.


Very emotional & impulsive, it has its negatives and positives. I believe in taking quick decisions & getting things done.

NASSCOM Upset At Private Snoops On IT Workers
C Chitti Pantulu, Bangalore
18th dec 2008

NASSCOM Upset At Private Snoops On IT Workers

Hiring of private agencies by BPO and IT companies to carry out background checks on their employees in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks has not gone down well with the apex industry body Nasscom.

Calling the move unnecessary, NASSCOM chairman Ganesh Natarajan said the National Skills Registry (NSR) maintained by it could be effectively used for the purpose with sufficient upgrades. DNA had reported on Wednesday that BPO and IT companies, among others, were hiring private detectives and security agencies to verify the antecedents of their employees.

"I don't think employing private groups to carry out background checks is required," Natarajan told DNA. The NSR, though meant for weeding out resumé cheats, is 90% foolproof and can be effectively used for this purpose, he said.

Though set up in December 2005, only 3.5 lakh of the roughly 20 lakh IT professionals have registered on the NSR.

It costs companies Rs 3,000 to get one employee registered on the NSR.

According to R Karthik Shekhar, founder of the Union for ITITES (Unites), said ITITES companies were reluctant to use the NSR. "But I don't see any reason why they should not use it for background checks," he said.

Over the next year, Natarajan said he expected 5-6 lakh new registrations to be added to the NSR, which is managed by NSDL Database Management Ltd (NMDL), a fully owned subsidiary of the National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL).

Asked if it should be made mandatory for every company to register its employees on the NSR, Natarajan said he would go a step ahead and push for compulsory NSR registration for every engineering student. "There is a strong case for every engineering college to register its students on the database, which is very stringent and carries out fingerprint and other checks on people registered," he said.

Indian IT industry to recover in 12 months: NASSCOM chief
18th Dec 2008
Business Standard

Indian IT industry to recover in 12 months: NASSCOM chief

In spite of a continuing recessionary trend globally, the Indian IT industry is expected to recover in another 12 months. According to the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), the industry will witness slower growth in the third and fourth quarter of financial year 2008-09.

"The Indian IT industry may have suffered from the recessionary trends but it will recover in another 12 months. Moreover, after 12 months, the Indian IT industry will focus more on domestic market and less on international markets," said Ganesh Natarajan, chairman of NASSCOM and global chief executive officer of Zensar Technologies Limited to reporters during the International Entrepreneurship Forum at Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA).

Brushing aside the recessionary trends as sentimental and not actual, Natarajan said that the IT industry would still grow though at a lesser pace.

"Recession times help the entrepreneurial spirit to flourish unobtrusively. This is not the time for sentimentalism. The future of business beckons to collaborative techniques and networking of enterprises," said Natarajan.

As compared to India, Natarajan said that the UK and other European markets will recover in 2-3 years while the US will take another 12-18 months to emerge from the current gloomy conditions.

Among these countries, Japan is the worst hit since it is a big client of Indian and the US IT industry.

Unlike a growth rate of 24 percent last year, the Indian IT industry will witness a lesser growth rate while the GDP will continue to grow at around six percent, he added.

When asked about lay offs in the industry, Natarajan said that around one lak job commitments have already been made by IT companies in India during campus interviews for 2009.

Also, additional 50,000 people will be recruited during the next year.

In 2008, the industry recruited around two lakh people, said Natarajan.

My Articles

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My Books

  • What We Really Want?

    From Start-Up to Global Success

    The global authority of the West is no longer unchallenged; the Western worldview is no longer accepted as universal. It is increasingly being questioned by emerging economies around the globe that are developing their own standards. If we look at the geographical positions of the emerging economies, it appears that they collectively form a belt around the southern part of the globe: "The Global Southern Belt." The Westerncentric world is fading into a multicentered world in which many countries and even more important, "a world of cities" will set the tone in global matters. The game changers will be the countries and cities of the Global Southern Belt, which will reshape our world in the decades to come. Like John Naisbitt's international bestselling book Megatrends in 1982, Global Game Change offers an indispensable roadmap of the transforming global landscape. It replaces the uncertainty of rapid change with a description of the future.

  • What We Really Want?

    What We Really Want? (Aspirations of Gen Y)

    A book for IT professionals, young aspirants, managers, parents, social researchers and observant readers. Millions of bright young minds are driving India's vibrant IT sector. There shall be millions more who will succeed them. Therefore this book! What do Gen Y members aspire for? How can they turn their dreams into reality? What role should their parents play? How can the IT industry captains and managers make it a collaborative endeavour?

  • Winds of Change

    Winds of Change

    Indian IT- an insider's view In this book, that will prove to be of immense practical value to IT professionals and entrepreneurs, Ganesh Natarajan, an insider in the IT industry, journeys through the situations and experiences that proved to be the make and break factors over this crucial period. This book is a guide that provides indicators about what works, what fails and what needs to be done.

  • Unleashing the Knowledge Force- Harnessing Knowledge for Building Global Companies

    Unleashing the Knowledge ForceHarnessing Knowledge for Building Global Companies

    This book traces the impact of knowledge force in the early stages of a business and throws light on the different frameworks of knowledge force relevant to businesses. Further it presents a new Knowledge Management Maturity Model (KMMM) for describing different stages of knowledge maturity in keeping with the phase of business growth. The applicability of the model across various industry sectors is also discussed.

  • Knowledge Management - Enabling Business Growth

    Knowledge ManagementEnabling Business Growth

    This is a breakthrough book that explains how technological and conceptual synergies can be deployed for conversion of knowledge to knowledge management in the organisational context. Written by professionals who have tremendous expertise in consulting and developing KM solutions, it captures the essence of the times that is being referred to as the dawn of the knowledge society.

  • Inspired!


    Inspired! breaks new ground by exploring the essence of inspiration in a series of interviews with exceptional individuals some of whom lead regular lives like us while many are renowned leaders in diverse fields such as business, social activism, education, sport, the government, the arts and the media. Ganesh Natarajan and Manjiri Gokhale take us through the life and times of each personality - the formative influences and events that moulded them, their styles of operation and philosophies of life, their dreams, their hopes, their accomplishments - then identify the ten qualities that have been the key ingredients in their success. From this emerges a unique formula for inspiration that may be adapted and customized according to the special requirements of each individual. The book will be a valuable and entertaining guide to all those who wish to optimize their talents, transform their circle of influence and succeed in what they do, whatever their age or profession - corporate executives, artistes, homemakers, entrepreneurs, even students.

  • Implementing BPR - An Agenda for the CEO

    Implementing BPRAn Agenda for the CEO

    For most business managers, corporate heads and leaders of organizations, Business Process Reengineering is no longer a mystery. It is an opportunity, to chart out a new future for the organization, to destroy or obliterate age old systems that are too slow to function in the IT era. Reengineering is an imperative to sail the organization through turbulent business storms and to reach it safely, much closer to the customer, and the market.

  • Business Process Reengineering

    Business Process Reengineering

    One of the most prevalent concepts in the business today, reengineering involves a fundamental rethinking and redesigning in the way we work. This book, one of the very first to emerge from India reveals a fascinating picture of what BPR can do to totally revitalise the corporation and not only that but also how to do it. Brimming with real-life examples of reengineering in the India and aboard, this book written by top information strategy specialist explains the genesis of the concept of BPR and tells you how information technology, if used imaginatively, can be a vehicle of change.

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