C. K. Prahalad
Prahalad at World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit in 2009
Born(1941-08-08)8 August 1941[1]
Died16 April 2010(2010-04-16) (aged 68)[2]
Alma materLoyola College, Chennai
IIM Ahmedabad
Harvard Business School
ChildrenMurali Krishna, Deepa Rita [3]

Personal life

Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahalad (8 August 1941 – 16 April 2010)[1] was an Indian-American[4] entrepreneur and author. He was born to a stay at home mother and a father who was a judge.[5] He was married to a woman named Gayatri, and shared two children with her - a son named Murali and a daughter named Deepa.[6] Prahalad had three grandchildren.

He was the Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy at the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business.[7]

He co-authored "Core Competence of the Corporation"[8] with Gary Hamel; and "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid"[9] with Stuart L. Hart, about business opportunity in serving the Bottom of the Pyramid.

On 16 April 2010, Prahalad died at the age of 68 of a previously undiagnosed lung illness in San Diego, California.[10]

Education and Teaching

Prahalad was born in Madhwa brahmin family[11] at Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) in 1941. His father was a Tamil scholar and judge in Madras (now Chennai).[12]

At 19, he had finished his BSc degree in physics from Loyola College, Chennai, part of the University of Madras,[13] and joined Union Carbide, where he worked for four years. Four years later he did postgraduate work in management at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.

At Harvard Business School, Prahalad wrote a doctoral thesis on multinational management in two and a half years, graduating with a DBA degree in 1975.[14] After graduating from Harvard, Prahalad returned to the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad to serve as professor before returning to US again in 1977.

He returned to the United States in 1977, with an appointment to the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business Administration. He eventually became a tenured full professor, earning the university's highest distinction, Distinguished University Professor, in 2005.


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In early 1990 Prahalad advised Philips' Jan Timmer on the restructuring of this electronic corporation, then on the brink of collapse.[citation needed] A process which was named Operation Centurion was set up, and was successful after two or three years.

Prahalad was the inspiration behind the vision of India@75. While commemorating the 60th year of India’s independence, on 23 September 2007, during the Incredible India@60 celebration at New York, he articulated the idea of holistic three dimensional development of India to acquire enough economic strength, technological vitality, and moral leadership by 2022 – the 75th year of India’s independence. The Confederation of Indian Industry adopted his vision on 8 May 2008.[15][16] This initiative of CII has also found resonance with the Government, as in the ‘Strategy for New India@75’ document released by the NITI Aayog, Government of India in 2018.[17] C. K. Prahalad is the co-author of a number of works in corporate strategy, including The Core Competence of the Corporation (with Gary Hamel, Harvard Business Review, May–June 1990) which as of 2010 was one of the most frequently reprinted articles published by the journal.[18] He authored or co-authored: 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). His last book, co-authored by M. S. Krishnan and published in April 2008, is The New Age of Innovation. He co-authored: "Innovation's Holy Grail" with R.A Mashelkar which was chosen as a Harvard Business Review Top 10 articles on Innovation[19] and focuses on how developing nations are leading the way in innovation that focuses more on affordability and sustainability as opposed to the common premium pricing model.[citation needed]

Prahalad was co-founder and became chief executive officer of Praja Inc. ("Praja" from a Sanskrit word "Praja" which means "citizen" or "common people"). The company had goals of providing unrestricted access to information for people at the "bottom of the pyramid" and providing a test bed for various management ideas. It eventually laid off a third of its workforce, and was sold to TIBCO. In 2004 Prahalad co-founded management consultancy The Next Practice, to support companies in implementing the strategies outlined in The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, which continued in operation as of 2015.[20] At the time of his death he was on the board of TiE, The Indus Entrepreneurs. Prahalad was a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission of the United Nations on Private Sector and Development.

Honors and awards

He was the first recipient of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Award for contributions to Management and Public Administration presented by the President of India in 1999.

The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid

The "Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid" is a book written by C.K. Prahalad, published in 2004.[27] The primary argument of this book is that there is an untapped market that can be found in the worlds poorest populations.

Theory on Core Competence

C.K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review magazine titled "The Core Competence of the Corporation" in May/June 1990.[28]


C.K. Prahalad was ranked the number one business thinker by Thinkers 50 in 2007 and 2009. He was also initiated into their hall of fame, posthumously in 2018. Thinkers 50's "Breakthrough Idea Award" is in honor of Prahalad and named after him.[29]

See also


  1. ^ a b Notable Alumni: Dr. C K Prahalad Archived 22 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine. IIMA USA Chapter.
  2. ^ Stern, Stefan (19 April 2010). "Manifesto writer for business survival". Financial Times.
  3. ^ "Management guru C K Prahalad dead". Deccan Herald. 17 April 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  5. ^ Prahalad, Coimbatore Krishnarao; Hart, Stuart L. (24 August 2010). "The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid". Revista Eletrônica de Estratégia & Negócios. 1 (2): 1. doi:10.19177/reen.v1e220081-23. ISSN 1984-3372.
  6. ^ Prahalad, C.K.; Gandhi, Mohandas K.; Mandela, Nelson; Mandela, Nelson (2009), "Poverty and development", Landmarks for Sustainability: Events and Initiatives That Have Changed Our World, Greenleaf Publishing Limited, pp. 56–63, doi:10.9774/gleaf.978-1-909493-82-7_8, ISBN 978-1-909493-82-7, retrieved 7 November 2023
  7. ^ "C.K. Prahalad Bio". michiganross.umich.edu. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  8. ^ Prahalad, C.K.; Hamel, Gary (May 1990). "Core Competence of the Corporation". Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business Publishing.
  9. ^ Prahalad, C.K.; Hart, Stuart L. (2002). "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid" (PDF). Strategy + Business. Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.
  10. ^ Stern, Stefan (19 April 2010). "Manifesto writer for business survival". Financial Times.
  11. ^ "Forbes India - Management Guru CK Prahalad Passes Away". Forbes India. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  12. ^ "C. K. Prahalad, Proponent of Poor as Consumers, Dies at 68". The New York Times. 21 April 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  13. ^ Chidan, Rajghatta (18 April 2010). "C K Prahalad: Guru of poverty and profit dies at 69". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  14. ^ Professor C.K. Prahalad Archived 14 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "India at 75-About Us-Genesis and vision". www.indiaat75.in. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  16. ^ "India at 75-a new India by 2022". www.moneycontrol.com. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  17. ^ "India at 75 vision". www.ciiblog.in. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  18. ^ Schumpeter (24 April 2010). "The guru of the bottom of the pyramid". The Economist.
  19. ^ "HBR's 10 Must Reads on Innovation (With featured article "The Discipline of Innovation," by Peter F. Drucker)". Archived from the original on 8 November 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  20. ^ "The Next Practice". Archived from the original on 9 October 2016. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
  21. ^ Prahalad, C.K. "The Role of Core Competencies in the Corporation," Research-Technology Management, Vol. 36, No. 6 (November–December 1993), pp. 40–47.
  22. ^ "The NRIs who made India feel proud". Rediff. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  23. ^ "The Thinkers50 Ranking 2009". Thinkers50. Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  24. ^ "Viipuri Prize goes posthumously to world-renowned Professor C.K. Prahalad". Lappeenranta University of Technology. 16 November 2010. Archived from the original on 13 February 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  25. ^ "The Viipuri Prize". Lappeenranta University of Technology. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  26. ^ "2018 Hall of Fame Inductees". thinkers50.com. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  27. ^ Brueckner, Martin (2013), "Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid (Prahalad)", in Idowu, Samuel O.; Capaldi, Nicholas; Zu, Liangrong; Gupta, Ananda Das (eds.), Encyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibility, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 1149–1154, doi:10.1007/978-3-642-28036-8_130, ISBN 978-3-642-28036-8, retrieved 19 October 2023
  28. ^ The Core Competence of the Corporation. 5 July 2017. doi:10.4324/9781912281077. ISBN 978-1-912281-07-7.
  29. ^ Govindarajan, Vijay (2015), "Prahalad, C. K. (1941-2010)", The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management, Palgrave Macmillan, doi:10.1057/9781137294678.0529, ISBN 978-1-137-29467-8, retrieved 7 November 2023