If for any reason at all he fails, virtually the entire public sector will have to be written off for the next twenty years, ted the panel that chose V. Krishnamurthy as the Business India Businessman of the Year in 1987. Management of a business enterprise in India is a lot more difficult than in other countries. There are far more uncertainties that an Indian manager has to encounter while performing his tasks-even more so in state-owned companies, often synymous with inefficiency, than in private ones. But Krishnamurthy, through his exemplary stewardship of three enterprises, emerged as the pride of India's public sector in the 1970s and 1980s. At Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, he saved the company from imminent disintegration and dispelled Indira Gandhi's impression that Indian managers do t have the ability to manage large organizations. At Maruti Udyog, he was given the responsibility of t just manufacturing a car but of modernizing the automobile industry itself. Steel Authority of India was almost a sunset company when he took over but he shook up the organization from its very foundations and put it back in a leadership position. At the Helm is the story of how a boy from the temple town of Karuveli in Tamil Nadu starts out as a technician at airfields during the Second World War but goes on to script the biggest success stories of young India's fledgling public sector over the next five decades.
Apart from steering BHEL, Maruti Udyog and SAIL to positions of repute, 89-year old V. Krishnamurthy has also served on several prime ministerial committees and the Planning Commission of India during his long career in public service. He was a member of the National Advisory Council in its first tenure. He has been chairman of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and Bangalore, the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar. He was conferred the Padma Vibhushan in 2007 for civil services.