• unknown (b.)

Bio/Description

As founder and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of infoGROUP (previously known as infoUSA), he is considered to be the father of the sales leads industry. infoGROUP is a data and marketing services company that provides products and services to generate sales leads, find new customers, and develop direct mail, email and telemarketing campaigns. He served as CEO of the company from the time of its incorporation in 1972 until September 1997 and from August 1998 to August 2008.Borrowing $100 from a bank to get started, it has grown from a one-man operation to a global employer of over 5,000 with revenues of $750 million. During this period he acquired over 45 companies. InfoGroup was sold in July 2010 for $680 million. In 2010, he created DatabaseUSA.com which provided databases and technology to salespeople and small businesses. They offered a CRM model, so they could send e-mails, direct mail, and the ability to categorize their prospects. All of the company's offerings, which included social networking, were through the company's website. He served as Chairman of the Board of Directors, assembling a team of 22 employees, including former Infogroup COO Monica Messer and former Infogroup Chief Administrative Officer Fred Vakili, who served as President of Database and Technology and President of Customer Satisfaction, respectively. In 2012, he developed LocateAMERICA.com. He was recognized in Bill Clinton’s book Giving, describing the company as one that “has made a concerted effort to hire people who were on welfare, as well as people who are disabled or who have to support themselves after getting out of unsafe domestic situations.” He was appointed by President Clinton to serve as a Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. He was also nominated and confirmed to be the United States Consul General to Bermuda as well as nominated by the President to be the United States Ambassador to Fiji. He was born in the small town of Rampur Maniharan, located 100 miles north of New Delhi, a small town (village) near Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh). After graduating high school, he applied to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and was admitted into the IIT Kharagpur campus, majoring in agricultural engineering. In 1964, he was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as Flying Officer in Engineering Unit and resigned in 1967 with a rank of Squadron Leader in 14 Squadron. In 1967, he moved to the United States to get his Master’s degree. He graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with an MS in Agricultural Engineering in 1969 and an MBA in 1971. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate by Monterey Institute, University of Nebraska, and IIT Kharagpur. He also delivered the commencement address at IIT Kharagpur in 2006. In his first job after college he was hired as a Marketing Research Analyst with Commodore Corporation, a manufacturer of mobile homes. While at Commodore, he was assigned the task of gathering a list of every single mobile home dealer in the United States. He found all the sources available to be outdated and incomplete. He then ordered all available 4,800 Yellow Page phone directories and set out to compile the list himself. With the help of another employee, he sorted the books state by state. Commodore said they could work on the project on their own time and once completed, the company would consider buying the list. After the list was completed, he gave them two options: pay $9,000 for exclusive rights to it or receive it free of charge and allow him and his partner to sell it to Commodore’s competitors. Balking at the $9,000 cost, Commodore chose the latter option. Borrowing $100 from a local Nebraska bank, he invested the money in mailers he sent out to other mobile home manufacturers. Within three weeks he had received checks for $22,000 and orders for another $13,000. He had found his niche…now he just had to come up with a more efficient way to collect the data. By 1992, the company had revenue of $42 million and became publicly traded on NASDAQ Since then, he acquired over 45 companies and built it into an information power house. He has decided to give all his wealth to charity. Believing in 'Learn, Earn and Return', he recognizes the value of education and how it has changed his life. As a result, he has made education a primary beneficiary for his charitable contributions. “Through his charitable foundation, he has helped advance education across fields including: business, science, information technology, communications, intellectual property law and wildlife preservation.” Most recently he donated $1 million for a women’s polytechnic in his native town of Rampur Maniharan; a small town near Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh state. The Polytechnic was inaugurated by the former US President Bill Clinton. In addition he gave his alma mater, Indian Institute of Technology, $2 million to create the Vinod Gupta School of Management. The institute now offers an MBA program to engineering graduates with 0 to 5 years of work experience. After his contributions, the IIT received $2 million from other IIT alumni. He has also donated money for a new science block at his former village school and provided buses for the girls’ school. Moreover, the most recent of his contributions includes the setting up of a law school under the IIT umbrella with excellent infrastructure named under Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law which is creating waves across India with its unique program. In America, he has donated $2 million to establish a curriculum for small business management at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He’s also donated an additional $500,000 to the university to set up a scholarship fund for minority students who want to enter its Science or Engineering schools. In 2010, he was charged along with two other employees of Infogroup for "their roles in a scheme in which the CEO funneled illegal compensation to himself in the form of perks worth millions of dollars." The SEC said he used $9.5 million in corporate funds for personal gain and his "lavish lifestyle". The three later settled with the SEC without admitting wrong doing. He paid $7.4 million in fines and penalties and agreed to be barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company, according to the SEC. After Bill Clinton left the White House in January 2001, he hired him as a consultant, a relationship that has continued. It is said he, “has a long history of giving and raising campaign money for the Clintons, and gave $1 million for the 2000 Millennium Celebration, a New Year's Party thrown by the Clintons. When he was President, Bill Clinton named Gupta to the Kennedy Center Board of Directors. He also got to stay in the Lincoln bedroom with his wife. He gave another million to the Clinton Presidential Library. In June 2007, he praised Clinton's work for the company. "He helps us meet some of the right people," he told the Omaha World-Herald. "In many speeches, he has mentioned InfoUSA by name." He said...It takes money to make money. By spending money, he networked into the power elites of Washington, New York and Bay Area. He brought hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue through his contacts at Google, Microsoft, AOL, Cisco, Democratic Party, eBay, HP and hundreds of other corporations. He has one of the biggest rolodex in the business."
  • Noted For:

    The father of the sales leads industry
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