Ahmedabad: Kumar Mangalam Birla, the 49-year-old Chairman of the $41 billion industrial conglomerate Aditya Birla Group, has been named the new Chairman of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), according to a Human Resource Development Ministry statement.
 
The premier B-school has been without a regular Chairman since January when A.M. Naik, the CMD of Larsen & Toubro, quit citing “paucity of time”.
 
The IIM chairmanship is normally a non-executive position and the role primarily involves presiding over Board of Governors meetings and acting as IIM spokesperson. The Chairperson also takes up the issues of the institute with the Union government.
 
Though he has no formal authority, the Chairperson can set the agenda by guiding discussions and influencing the direction of the institute.
 
A search committee to select the IIM-A Chairman was formed soon after Naik’s resignation. the panel included Naik as its head, with Sanjay Lalbhai of the Arvind Group, Pankaj Patel of Zydus Cadila and D. Shivakumar of Pepsico India as members.
 
The committee shortlisted the names of Deepak Parekh, Chairman of Housing Development Finance Corporation; R. Seshasayee of Infosys and Pawan Munjal, the CMD of Hero Motocorp. However, the HRD Ministry, then headed by Smriti Irani, had rejected the list.
 
Later, a new three-member panel headed by Pankaj Patel was constituted. The panel dropped the name of Munjal and included that of Kumar Mangalam Birla instead.
 
The names were discussed and approved by the institute’s Board of Governors in late September and sent to the HRD Ministry for approval, as stipulated by the Memorandum of Association (MOA) between the IIM-A and the Ministry. 
 
A discussion on the matter is believed to have taken place with incumbent HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on his recent visit to the IIM-A.