Management Guru CK Prahalad passes away

The World's top business thinker C. K. Prahalad died after a short illness

Published: Apr 17, 2010

Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahalad, author and management consultant succumbed today to a short illness.

C. K. Prahalad was one of nine children born into a Madhva brahmin family in 1941. His father was a well-known Sanskrit scholar and judge in Chennai. At 19, he joined Union Carbide after obtaining a degree in Physics from Loyola College, Chennai. Prahalad called his Union Carbide experience a major inflection point in his life.

C.K. Prahalad, Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor
Image: Kent Coston Horner / AFP for Forbes India
C.K. Prahalad, Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor
Four years later, he did his post-graduation in management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A). He met his wife, Gayatri during this time; they married five years later, and have two children.

Prahalad is the author of a number of well known works in corporate strategy including 'The Core Competence of the Corporation' (Harvard Business Review, May-June, 1990). He has also authored several international bestsellers, including 'Competing for the Future' (with Gary Hamel), 1994, 'The Future of Competition', (with Venkat Ramaswamy), 2004 and 'The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits', Wharton School Publishing, 2004. This last book transformed the Indian-born Prahalad from bestselling academic to global opinion former. His new book with co-author M. S. Krishnan is called The New Age of Innovation. His ideas are tackle the big issues of our times and make a difference.

He was co-founder of Praja Inc (“Praja” from a Sanskrit word “Praja” which means “citizen” or “common people”). He later became its chief executive officer.

The goals of the company ranged from allowing common people to access information without restriction (this theme is related to the “bottom of pyramid” or BOP philosophy), to providing a test bed for various management ideas. The company eventually laid off one third of its workforce and was sold to leading business integration and process management software company, TIBCO. He was also on the board of TiE, The Indus Entrepreneurs. At Harvard Business School, Prahalad wrote a doctoral thesis on multinational management in just two and a half years, graduating with a D.B.A. degree in 1975.

He then came to India, where he taught at his alma-mater (IIM-A). He returned to the United States, where he was the Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business in the University of Michigan.

Prahalad has been among top ten management thinkers in every major survey for over ten years.

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  • Sridhar Deshpande

    We have lost a great visionary. Future Management Students miss him a lot. His name starts with two important things to run the modern corporate/business CK- Creativity and Knowledge. We miss you Sir.........

    on Apr 20, 2010
  • ripudaman singh

    This the loss of whole core competency of business world and the loss of rural and poor people as a whole

    on Apr 17, 2010
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Remembering CK Prahalad