R. Gopalakrishnan obtained his B.Sc(Hons) degree in Physics from St Xavier’s College Calcutta University, B.Tech(Hons) in Electronics from IIT Kharagpur in 1967 and Advanced Management Programme from Harvard Business School, United States.
He has lived and worked in India, the UK and Saudi Arabia. He began his career in 1967 as a computer analyst with Hindustan Lever. He worked in the marketing function before moving to general management. During his years with Unilever, he was based in Jeddah as CEO of the Arabia unit; later, he was managing director of Brooke Bond Lipton India and then vice-chairman with Hindustan Lever. He has been president of the All India Management Association. He is married and has three children.
Gopal - as he is known as - has written following books:
- The Case of the Bonsai Manager
- When the Penny Drops|When the Penny Drops: Learning What's Not Taught
- What the CEO really wants from you: The 4 As for managerial success, Harper Collins India (2012)
- A comma in a sentence: The extra-ordinary story of an ordinary family over six generations, Rupa Rainlight Publications (2014)
- "Gopalakrishnan does not seek re-election on Tata Motors board". Tata Motors. 3 August 2010.
- "About Us: R Gopalakrishna". Tata Group. Archived from the original on 12 July 2008. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
- "R Gopalakrishnan". IIT Kharagpur. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "R Gopalakrishnan". Forbes. Archived from the original on 7 October 2014.
- "R Goapalakrishnan". Penguin Books India. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
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