C. K. Prahalad

Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahalad (8 August 1941 – 16 April 2010)[1] was the Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy at University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

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

He was the co-author of "Core Competence of the Corporation"[4] (with Gary Hamel) and "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid"[5] (with Stuart L. Hart), about the 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.[6]

Education and teaching

Prahalad was born in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) in 1941. His father was a Tamil scholar and judge in Madras (now Chennai).[7]

At 19, he had finished his BSc degree in physics from Loyola College, Chennai, part of the University of Madras, 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.[8] 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.


Writings, interests, and business experience

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

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.[9] 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[10] 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

Prahalad was co-founder and became CEO 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.[11] 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.

See also


  1. 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. Prahalad, C.K.; Hamel, Gary (May 1990). "Core Competence of the Corporation". Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business Publishing.
  5. Prahalad, C.K.; Hart, Stuart L. (2002). "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid" (PDF). Strategy + Business. Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.
  6. Stern, Stefan (19 April 2010). "Manifesto writer for business survival". Financial Times.
  7. "C. K. Prahalad, Proponent of Poor as Consumers, Dies at 68". The New York Times. 21 April 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  8. Professor C.K. Prahalad Archived 14 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Schumpeter (24 April 2010). "The guru of the bottom of the pyramid". The Economist.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 November 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 October 2016. Retrieved 2015-02-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. Prahalad, C.K. "The Role of Core Competencies in the Corporation," Research-Technology Management, Vol. 36, No. 6 (November–December 1993), pp. 40–47.
  13. "The NRIs who made India feel proud". Rediff. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  14. "Padma Awards". Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  15. "The Thinkers50 Ranking 2009". Thinkers50. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  16. "Viipuri Prize goes posthumously to world-renowned Professor C.K. Prahalad". Lappeenranta University of Technology. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  17. "The Viipuri Prize". Lappeenranta University of Technology. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  18. "2018 Hall of Fame Inductees". thinkers50.com. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
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