Neville Roy Singham is an American businessman and social activist. He is known for being the founder of “Thoughtworks,” an IT venture which advises on computers. He sold it for $785 million in 2017. In November 2023, the Enforcement Directorate summoned him for questioning about a money laundering case related to an Indian news channel “NewsClick,” and he was accused of spreading Chinese propaganda in India and other countries of the world. NDTV
Neville Roy Singham was born on Thursday, 13 May 1954 (age 69 years; as of 2023) in the United States. His zodiac sign is Taurus. After completing his school education, he pursued a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Howard University, United States. Business Studies Later, he went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to pursue higher studies.
Height (approx.): 5′ 9″
Hair Colour: Bald
Eye Colour: Brown
Parents & Siblings
Singham’s father, Archibald Singham, was a political scientist and historian from Sri Lanka who taught political science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He died in 1991. News Click
His mother, Shirley Hune, is a Cuban. He has a sister named Shanti Singham.
Wife & Children
In 2017, Neville Roy Singham got married to Jodie Evans, a political activist, author, and filmmaker. Several notable figures, including Amy Goodman, host of ‘Democracy Now!’; Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream; and playwright V (formerly known as Eve Ensler), attended their wedding ceremony.
The couple has a son named Nathan (Nate) Singham who works for the Tricontinental, an Institute for Social Research.
Neville Roy Singham joined a group called the League of Revolutionary Black Workers when he was young. This group believed in being proud of being Black and followed Maoist ideas. Meanwhile, he also worked at a Chrysler factory in Detroit in 1972. Thereafter, he went to Howard University, and after completing his graduation, he went to Chicago and started a company “Thoughtworks” in the late 1980s and incorporated the same in 1991. His company helped its clients rent computer equipment and also specialized in computer consulting and custom software development. He was the owner of the maximum shares of his company. Meanwhile, he also worked as a strategic technical consultant for Huawei from 2001 to 2008. In 2008, “Thoughtworks” had 1,000 workers and helped big companies like Microsoft, Oracle, and banks. In 2010, it started working with Daimler AG, Siemens, and Barclays. Meanwhile, it also opened a new office in Bangalore, India.
Neville Roy Singham sold “Thoughtworks” for an amount of $785 million to a private equity firm in 2010. When he sold it, the company had 4,500 workers in 15 countries. Singham was not actively managing the company for quite a few years before selling it as mentioned by the company’s chief scientist, Martin Fowler, in a media conversation. Fowler shared that Roy was involved in his activist work as he built a management team that was capable of running the company without Roy. Fowler said,
While I was surprised to hear that he was selling the company, the news was not unexpected. Over the last few years Roy has been increasingly involved in his activist work, and spending little time running ThoughtWorks. … He’s been able to do this because he’s built a management team that’s capable of running the company largely without him. But as I saw him spend more energy on his activist work, it was apparent it would be appealing to him to accelerate that activism with the money that selling ThoughtWorks would bring.”
Neville Roy Singham was a prominent leader at Thoughtworks, where he was known for his ability to create software quickly and efficiently. He was a supporter of working with a Lean manufacturing approach, similar to Toyota’s business model. Singham firmly believed in open access and the Creative Commons movement, and he disliked the idea of keeping software ideas secret. He thought that everyone should have access to the best software ideas for free. In 2008, he stated during a media conference that he aimed to solve the world’s problems by developing technically superior infrastructure. He said,
As a socialist, I believe the world should have access to the best ideas in software for free. My goal is a technically superior infrastructure to solve the world’s problems.”
During a media conversation, Singham once shared that he admired Hugo Chavez, the former President of Venezuela, and believed that China was a good example of how to run a country. He thought that China was a place with both free-market adjustments and long-term planning. Singham was known to admire Maoism, and some people described him as “A Marxist with a massive software company!”
In 2022, Singham was attempting to create a movement in the United States to promote peace in Ukraine and oppose NATO enlargement. In 2023, he began investing in Chinese companies in the food and consultancy sectors. He also started operating from Shanghai that same year, where he worked with the Maku Group. This group aims to inform foreigners about China’s victories, and Singham reportedly provided them with funding of $1.8 million. In July 2023, Singham participated in a workshop organized by the Communist Party, which aimed to promote the Chinese Communist Party internationally.
“Singham’s Funding Controversy”
In 2021, Singham was accused by “The New York Times” of supporting pro-Chinese government messages by funding certain causes and groups in America. Later that year, India’s Enforcement Directorate also accused Singham of being involved in a money laundering case. The allegation was that he provided Rs. 380 million (about $5 million) to the Indian news site “People’s Dispatch” between 2018 and 2021, which was allegedly used to promote a pro-Chinese viewpoint in Indian media. The funds were said to have gone through various companies and NGOs, including some in the United States such as Worldwide Media Holdings (believed to be owned by Singham), the Justice and Education Fund, GSPAN LLC, and the Tricontinental Institute. Similar concerns were also raised about the Centro Popular de Mídias in Brazil. Live Mint In August 2023, The New York Times again published an article alleging that Singham had close ties with the Chinese government. The article claimed that he used non-profit groups and shell companies to donate money to various organizations, including news outlets and entities, intending to spread messages in support of the Chinese government. Some of these non-profits include the Justice and Education Fund, the United Community Fund, and the People’s Support Foundation. The groups funded by Singham include NewsClick in India, Nkrumah School, Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party in South Africa, Brasil de Fato newspaper in Brazil, and activist groups like No Cold War, Code Pink, People’s Forum, and Tricontinental in the United States. Singham denied these allegations and stated that he did not work for any political party or government. However, US Senator Marco Rubio has requested the Department of Justice to investigate entities linked to Singham for possible violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) after the publication of the article in The New York Times.
- Singham is a supporter of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. He, along with fellow activist Peter Thiel and former American political activist and economist Daniel Ellsberg, spoke out in defence of Assange at an event in 2011. Singham also voiced his support for hackers like Jeremy Hammond and Aaron Swartz. Swartz, who used to work for Singham, ended his life while facing legal issues in 2013.
- In 2013, Neville Roy Singham emphasized the importance of efficiency during a business conference and shared that his company “Thoughtworks” invested in many projects in India, Brazil, and China to promote this idea.
- In January 2022, a report by New Lines Magazine revealed that Singham had donated nearly $65 million to non-profit organizations, including Code Pink.