Mr. Prakash Tandon (1911-2004) was one of the leading business leaders of India in the twentieth century, a pioneer in professional management and the first Indian Chairman of Hindustan Unilever Limited (then Hindustan Lever Limited).
Mr. Tandon was born on 1 January, 1911, in Punjab. He studied to become a Chartered Accountant at the University of Manchester in 1929. Eight years later, he returned to India and in 1937 got a job at Unilever as the first Indian manager recruited by the firm in India. In 1951 he became a Director of Unilever and in 1961 he became the first Indian Chairman of the multinational company. He was later made the Chairman and Managing Director of Punjab National Bank.
Tandon was impressed by the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at Harvard Business School and became closely associated with IIMA in the 1960s. He was appointed on the IIMA Board of Governors in 1962 and was the Board’s Chairperson from 1964 to 1969. As member of the Personnel Committee he oversaw the recruitment process of the first faculty at IIMA and as a distinguished professional manager contributed to the development of management development programmes. Two decades later, he was invited as the Chief Guest for the 19th Convocation at IIMA in 1984.
He passed away on 20 October, 2004. He left behind a unique autobiographical trilogy that captured various elements of the social and business history of twentieth century India, titled Punjabi Century, 1857-1947, Beyond Punjab, 1947-1960 and Return to Punjab. He also wrote Banking Century: A Short History of Banking in India and the Pioneer Punjab National Bank.