Kiran Karnik describes himself as a 'public un-intellectual', a non-academic with a strong interest in public policy and strategy. He is widely recognized for his work in the IT sector, as President NASSCOM from 2001 to 2008, and for helping to put Satyam Computers back on track - as Chairman of its government-appointed Board - after it suffered the biggest corporate fraud in India's history. He has been on many key government committees, including the Scientific Advisory Council to Prime Minister, and the National Innovation Council.
Before his last full-time job in NASSCOM, Karnik was CEO of Discovery Communications India (1995-2001) and launched Discovery Channel and Animal Planet in India and South Asia. As Founder-Director of Consortium for Educational Communication (1991-95), he oversaw production and transmission of UGC's Countrywide Classroom TV programmes. Earlier, he spent over two decades in ISRO and was deeply involved in the use of space technology, especially for education and development, including the path-breaking Indo-US Satellite Instructional TV Experiment (SITE) and the Kheda TV project.
He is currently involved with a number of not-for-profit organizations in the fields of education and development, and is the honorary President of India Habitat Centre. He was a Director on the Board of Reserve Bank of India till September 2015, and currently chairs the Board of Reserve Bank Information Technology Private Limited. He also serves as an Independent Director on the Boards of a few other companies. He has contributed to, authored and edited many books, including "The Coalition of Competitors", on NASSCOM and the IT industry. His latest book ("Crooked Minds") is on innovation. He has also been a regular contributor to major national dailies.
Karnik has been conferred many awards, including the Padma Shri