Ending months of speculation, the hunt for the Chairman of IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA) Board of Governors ended this week, with the MHRD appointing noted industrialist and Chairman of Aditya Birla Group Chairman- Kumar Mangalam Birla as the chairman of IIMA BOG and its Society. Birla pipped both HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh and Infosys Chairman R Seshasayee to the position and it is learnt that Birla who is also currently the Chairman of IIT Delhi’s BoG has reportedly accepted the position for a tenure of 3 years.
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After IIMA’s former Chairman and L&T Chairman AM Naik had stepped down citing lack of time in December last year, the premier B-School had set up a selection committee and shortlisted 3 names including those of Parekh, Seshasayee and Hero MotoCorp CMD Pawan Munjal-only to be rejected by the then Smriti Irani-led Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in May this year.
However a second list was sent to the MHRD on September 23 – post a Board meeting of the selection committee headed by IIMA’s interim Chairman and CMD of Zydus Cadila -Pankaj Patel. “We have recieved communication today morning from the Director’s office on noted industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla being appointed on 21st October for a period of 3 years and we welcome the move,” said senior IIMA faculty member Ajay Pandey.
Sources close to the development, however, added that Birla has not had a deep engagement with IIMA in the past decade or so, but the development may aid the institute to further deepen its industry-academia-government linkages. “This announcement hardly comes as a surprise as Birla’s name is the only change in the second list of shortlisted candidates that was sent to the MHRD after it rejected the first one.
“The institute usually expects that whoever takes up the Chairman’s post will be able to give time to the institute and is well entrenched in the Indian industry and enjoys a good rapport with the government. While IIMA is fairly independent on academic matters, it currently needs someone to lead it who has a good standing amidst the global business community and can also aid its fundraising efforts,” said a member from IIMA’s Society.
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