Rakesh Kapoor | Global Indian

India-born former CEO donates ₹10 crore to alma mater BITS Pilani


(March 24, 2023) It was early this year that BITS Pilani received the largest gift in its history when an alumnus made a donation of ₹10 crore to the institution. Rakesh Kapoor, former global CEO of Reckitt Benckiser, has donated $1.2 million which will be “used to fund the creation of a state-of-the-art Centre of Innovation.”

The 40,000 square-feet facility, designed by renowned architect Hafeez Contractor, will include innovation labs in technology and hardware and co-working spaces. The innovation centre will also be home to the Pilani Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Society (PIEDS), the business incubator of BITS.

“I feel privileged to be able to further the already strong entrepreneurial ecosystem at BITS. My hope is that this gift will foster the talent of young engineers and scientists to create innovative products, solutions and services that benefit our planet and our people. The depth and rigour of BITS education combined with the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that pervades campus life, I truly believe the possibilities for the coming generations are limitless,” Kapoor said in a statement.

Recognising Kapoor’s generosity and his belief in the institution’s mission and promise, the innovation centre will be named ‘The Kapoor Centre of Innovation.’

“BITS has, in its own way, contributed significantly to India’s heritage of entrepreneurship. From a small technical school at one time, it is today among the nation’s foremost ‘entrepreneur factories’. This generous act of philanthropy by Rakesh Kapoor will undoubtedly have a lasting impact, as it aligns with one of the top institutional priorities and reinforces the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that BITS has championed for several decades,” said Souvik Bhattacharyya, Vice Chancellor of BITS Pilani.

The 64-year-old, who did chemical engineering from BITS Pilani from 1975 to 1980, joined Reckitt & Colman in 1987, and later served as the Global CEO of the company from 2011-2019. Widely recognised as one of the foremost Global CEOs in the consumer goods industry, he transformed the company from a household cleaning company to one of the largest health and hygiene companies.

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