Kiran Karnik was President of NASSCOM, the premiere trade body and the “chamber of commerce” for the IT software and services industry in India, till January 2008. During his 6 years at NASSCOM, Mr. Karnik was widely recognized as a thought-leader and guiding force for the Indian IT industry, and for promoting “Brand India”, especially by show-casing India’s technological strength to the world.
Prior to joining NASSCOM in 2001, Mr. Karnik was the Managing Director and CEO of Discovery Networks in India where he spearheaded the launch of Discovery Channel in South Asia in August 1995 and Animal Planet (a Discovery – BBC joint venture) in 1999. From 1991 to 1995, Mr. Karnik was Founder-Director of the Consortium for Educational Communication, which was responsible for UGC’s Countrywide Classroom broadcasts and other ICT initiatives.
Earlier, Mr. Karnik worked for over 20 years at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), where he held various positions including that of Founder-Director of ISRO’s Development and Educational Communicational Unit. His work in ISRO involved conceptualizing and managing applications of space technology. He was a key player in the pioneering India-USA Satellite Instructional TV Experiment (SITE) and the Kheda Communication Project, which won wide international acclaim.
Mr. Karnik has served as Special Assistant to the Secretary-General of UNISPACE 82 in the United Nations. He has done consulting assignments for WHO, The World Bank, UN Institute for Disarmament Research, Ford Foundation, and an extended one for UNESCO in Afghanistan.
He has been a member of many key government committees, and is presently a member of the Scientific Advisory Council to Prime Minister. He also has a deep involvement with a number of NGOs in the areas of education and environment, and currently is honorary Chairman of the National Foundation of India, Chairman of Vigyan Prasar and President of India Habitat Centre.
In a career of almost four decades, Mr. Karnik has been conferred many awards and accolades. He has been awarded the Padma Shri in 2007 and the ‘DATAQUEST IT Person of the Year – 2005’. Business Week named Mr. Karnik as one of the ‘Stars of Asia’ in 2004 and he was selected as Forbes magazine’s ‘Face of the Year 2003’, for being a driving force behind India’s offshoring wave. In 1998, International Astronautical Federation awarded Mr. Karnik with the Frank Malina medal for Space Education. His deep involvement in the Kheda Communications Project, won wide national and international acclaim, including the first UNESCO-IPDC Prize for Rural Communication.
Mr. Karnik regularly contributes to various publications and has authored/edited a large number of publications. He occasionally lectures at major national institutes.
A post-graduate from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Mr. Karnik holds an Honours degree in Physics from Bombay University.