CONDOLENCES/TRIBUTES TO RANJAN DAS
On 21 October 2009, we lost our valued colleague Ranjan Das, President, SAP India.
The initial shock and sadness of the news have given way to an enduring admiration for Ranjan's accomplishments and remarkable life.
We would like to share a personal perspective on the life of Ranjan Das, in the form of a personal tribute to a gentleman who we believe was a great human being.
We would also like to encourage all of you to share your thoughts and condolences, as well as any stories you may have which express how you felt about Ranjan, by emailing them here. SAP employee may post their condolences directly to the online tribute/condolences book.
We plan to collate and publish all your responses for Ranjan's family.
A Tribute Message to Ranjan Das
"Get a grip on yourself… This is no boxing match, kid. There’s no referee to stop the fight. You throw in as many punches as possible before they finish your game."
- Ranjan Das, The Mission (A Short Story), SNReview (2006)
In prose, as in life, Ranjan threw as many punches as possible before he suddenly hung up his gloves, leaving us all in shock, disbelief and incredulity. The hard-hitting man that he was, Ranjan would have liked each of us to get a grip on ourselves at this time, but our sense of loss is just too overwhelming.
An exceptional businessman, fine writer, loving husband, avid traveller, doting father, loyal friend and colleague beyond par, Ranjan was not just an endearing fellow - he was a force-of-nature. ‘Brilliant’ is also a word which sums him up. His absence will be felt keenly in days to come as family, friends, colleagues and the India IT industry try to come to terms with his untimely passing.
Ranjan – The Entrepreneur
Born in Assam, in the north-east corner of India, Ranjan went to the US on a full scholarship after high school and earned a degree in computer science, with a major in creative writing, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Later, he obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School and also attended an executive education program at INSEAD in France.
Though he had planned to become a professor of theoretical computer science, he ended up liking the corporate world and the rest, as they say, is history.
Ranjan’s first job was as a software engineer at InterSystems Corporation, after which he had memorable stints at Kenan Systems and Oracle. While at Harvard, he founded Patkai Networks. The dot com bust forced the closure of the fledgling company, but Ranjan was richer from the experience. That is when he joined SAP to co-found the xApps business.
In July 2007, Ranjan made the move to Mumbai as President, SAP India. Here he scripted SAP’s success by forming some of the largest and most strategic partnerships which led to SAP India being labelled the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ for SAP globally.
In fact, it was under his leadership that leveraging IT for business became a by-word in the Indian market. Ranjan became a “private-sector diplomat” for the Indian IT industry, with companies of all sizes exploring new benchmarks in quality, all established by SAP.
Ranjan – The Person
Be it stopping at boutique wineries while driving around the Russian River area in Sonoma County in California with his wife, revelling in the moon-like landscape of Barrow, Alaska or hiking through redwood trees to the top of Mount Tamalpais in San Francisco, Ranjan was always filled with exuberance for life.
As a small-town boy from Assam who practised using chopsticks on his maiden visit to the US, or the jet-setting executive who attended a Pink Floyd concert wearing a suit and tie, Ranjan remained the honest, hard-working and charming guy at heart throughout.
In one of his numerous media interviews, he said, "There is no substitute for hard work and this is what I learned from my parents. They taught me the importance of hard work, integrity and education and instilled in me a sense of curiosity."
And curious he surely was, learning everything at a rapid pace. During his school years he looked up to his professors Mr Dungerpuria and Mr Ansari. Later, in his professional life he counted Dennis Moore, Bill McDermott and Shai Agassi amongst his mentors. All through, he credited his wife, Roopa, for instilling in him a greater sense of self-awareness.
Thoroughly disciplined at work, Ranjan was also keen on personal fitness. He never missed his workout at the gym and took great care with his diet. An avid soccer fan, he followed most European football clubs with the enthusiasm of a teenager!
Brilliance cannot be contained and it shows in Ranjan’s creativity. His short stories and essays have been published in both the US and India. In fact, Ranjan aspired to become a Producer and had been collaborating with a film-maker to write a movie script.
Ranjan, we’ll really miss you…
Ranjan truly lived and will continue to live in our hearts. His outstanding communications capability significantly transcended the requirements of his role in India - his willingness to share the SAP story engendered deep respect and affection from business acquaintances, the media and even from competitors.
It’s a mark of the dedication and skill which Ranjan had in sharing the SAP story, that his wonderful legacy continues in the media today!
In his eventful life, he loved much, shared a lot and helped others grow. And for this, we will be eternally grateful to him.
SAP Asia Pacific Japan
President, Global Field Operations & Member of the Executive Board