Henning Holck-Larsen (4 July 1907 Denmark — 27 July 2003 Mumbai) was a Danish engineer who co-founded Larsen & Toubro Limited, an Indian USD 11.7 billion technology, engineering, construction and manufacturing conglomerate.
Watch interview with Steen Lassen, chairman of Henning Holck-Larsen Foundation, on Henning Holck-Larsen (produced by Daniel Weissensteiner/
Henning Holck-Larsen, who graduated at the Technical University of Denmark, came to India in 1937 as a chemical engineer working for F. L. Smidth & Co. of Copenhagen. Partnering with his former schoolmate and fellow engineer Søren Kristian Toubro, he set up Larsen & Toubro in 1938.
Larsen and Toubro gradually transformed L&T into a large business house with diverse interests, and the company went on to become one of the most successful Indian companies.
Mr. Holck-Larsen was an influential and highly respected businessman in India. In 1976 he became the first business executive to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award, also known as the Nobel Prize of Asia. The award committee explained the nomination as follows:
“This modest Dane presides over it all – a man who has shown how Western technology can help improve the standard of living in Asia. We are awarding him the prize in recognition of his unique contribution to the technological modernisation of India and because he has understood how to combine industrial development with concern for human interests.”
In 2002 the Government of India conferred one of India's highest civilian honours, the "Padma Bhushan" award, on Mr. Holck-Larsen, and in 2007 India issued a stamp commemorating Mr. Holck-Larsen on the centenary of his birth.
After retirement, Mr. Holck-Larsen served as the chairman emeritus of the company. He used to call India his "adopted homeland" and divided his time between Denmark and India.
Awards and recognitions
- Knighthood from Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (1977)
- Sir Jehangir Ghandy Medal for Industrial Peace (1980)
- Chemtech Foundation's Chemical Industry Stalwart Award (2000)
- Bombay Management Association's Lifetime Achievement Award (2001)
- The Indo-European Union Business Summit for promoting business beyond boundaries (2002)
- Padma Bhushan (2002) for contribution to Indian industry.
- "It is our ability to anticipate the future and react accordingly that will determine our success".
- "India, my adopted homeland, has a special place in my heart. With the Padma Bhushan, I am happy to realise that I have a place in her heart too".
- N. Ramakrishnan (4 July 2007). "The engineer behind the giant". The Hindu. Read article. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- "L&T co-founder Holck-Larsen dead". The Hindu. 28 July 2003. Read article. Retrieved 2009-05-13
View web gallery with Henning Holck-Larsen here