IIM-Calcutta has welcomed its first ever woman director, with Professor Anju Seth taking over from Saibal Chattopadhyay. While Seth officially took over the post yesterday, she will take over the charge after around a month.
Acting Director Prof Leena Chatterjee will continue to officiate till Seth takes up office.
“All of us are extremely happy about the decision. It is a good thing that women are now being appointed in key positions and leadership roles. The fact that she is an alumnus makes it even more fitting. I have been at the institute for 34 years and have seen the presence of women increase in the field — especially in terms of female students. Traditionally, one of our main pools is engineering. How many women, though, take up engineering? Having said that, there was a time when 5 per cent of students here were women, and now there are 30 per cent women students at IIM-Calcutta. One of our deans is a woman and I am one of two women members of the faculty board that represents the Institute. So yes, we are hopeful,” said Prof Leena Chatterjee.
The search-cum-selection committee of IIM-Calcutta had shortlisted three US-based academicians for the top job at the institute. Anju Seth of Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, Jayant R Kale, who is a professor of finance at the Northeastern University and Suresh Ramanathan, professor of marketing at Mays Business School, Texas A&M University, were the three contenders for the post.
The Board of Governors (BoG) met in the last week of October to discuss the three names and approved Seth’s candidature for the job. She is the second female head of an IIM, ever, and the third foreign-based academician to hold the post after Ashish Nanda’s appointment to IIM-Ahmedabad and Sushil Vachani to IIM-Bangalore in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Both Vachani and Nanda had stepped down before completing their term. Neelu Mehrotra of IIM Sirmaur, who was appointed by the incumbent government in February 2017, was the first woman director.
Seth is an alumnus of IIM-Calcutta (1978) and has a doctorate degree from the University of Michigan (1988). She joined Virginia Tech in 2008 and headed its department of management from 2008 to 2013.
Previously, she was with the University of Illinois and University of Houston.