Nandan Nilekani was most recently the Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in the rank of a Cabinet Minister. UIDAI aims to provide a unique identification number for all residents of India. He resigned from this post in March 2014 to contest the 16th Lok Sabha election from the South Bangalore constituency. Nilekani was previously the Co-Chairman of the board of directors of Infosys Technologies Limited, which he co-founded in 1981. Serving as a director on the company's board since its inception to July 2009, he has held various posts at Infosys, including those of Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, President, and Chief Operating Officer.
Nilekani co-founded India's National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) as well as the Bengaluru chapter of The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE). He is the president of the governing body of the National Council of Applied Economic Research, India’s oldest and largest premier, independent economic research institute. He is a member of the board of governors of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER). He is also on the board of the Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS).
Born in Bengaluru, Nilekani received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. The Fortune Magazine conferred on him the ’Asia’s Businessman of the Year’ honour in 2003. He was named ‘Corporate Citizen of the Year’ at the Asia Business Leaders Award, 2004. In 2005, he received the prestigious Joseph Schumpeter prize for innovative services in economy, economic sciences, and politics.
In 2006, he was awarded one of India's highest civilian honours, the Padma Bhushan. In the same year, Nilekani was named ‘Businessman of the Year’ by Forbes Asia. The Time magazine listed him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2006 and 2009. He is the author of 'Imagining India' that discusses his ideas for India’s future. The book was one of the finalists in the FT-Goldman Sachs Book Award for 2009. The Foreign Policy magazine listed him as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2010. He also won The Economist Social & Economic Innovation Award in 2014 for leading UIDAI (Aadhaar).