Dr Vikram Akula, Founder and Chairperson

Vikram Akula was named by TIME Magazine as one of the “People Who Shape Our World” in 2006, the annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people. A former management consultant with McKinsey & Company, he has over a decade of work and research experience in microfinance. He was a Fulbright Scholar in India, during which he coordinated an action-research project on providing micro-credit to farmers. He was also researcher with the Worldwatch Institute, where he wrote articles focused on poverty and development, and has worked as a community organizer with the Deccan Development Society in India. He holds a B.A. from Tufts, an M.A. from Yale, and has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. His Ph.D. dissertation focused on the impact of microfinance. He has received several awards for his work with SKS, including the Echoing Green Public Service Entrepreneur Fellowship, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Startup category (2006), and the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2006) from the Schwab and Khemka Foundations. Vikram has also been profiled in numerous publications, including the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

Suresh Gurumani, CEO and Managing Director

Suresh Gurumani is a banking veteran with 22 years of valuable experience. He has a keen understanding of pan-India consumer market, emerging opportunities and profitability models.

At Barclays, he launched retail banking and in less than a year’s time Barclay’s retail banking achieved leadership position in personal and business loans, mobile banking for mass segment and NRI services. He was also instrumental in launching Barclays Finance, an NBFC with 120 branches across 40 cities to create alternate distribution channels.

Suresh has also been associated with Standard Chartered for 12 years. He was the General Manager, Consumer Finance and SME banking andlaunched SME Banking which delivered significant revenues of the consumer bank . He was also actively involved in the merger with Grindlays Bank. One of the major initiatives undertaken by Suresh at Standard Chartered was the launch of Business Installment Loans which currently accounts for significant revenue share of SME business. Suresh also set up the Consumer Finance business at Standard Chartered. The key challenge in this role was to establish the market opportunity and identify the right business model, technology, Risk and operational model for the business. He was also part of the India Consumer Banking team which was involved in the strategy development for the Bank and identifying opportunities in the market place.

Gurcharan Das (Chairperson), Author and Former CEO, Procter and Gamble, India

Gurcharan Das is an author and public intellectual. He is the author of the international bestseller, India Unbound, which has been published in many countries and languages and filmed by the BBC. He has published numerous books and plays and writes a regular column on Sundays for the Times of India and Dainik Bhaskar, as well as occasional guest columns for the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Time Magazine.

Mr. Das was CEO of Procter & Gamble India and Vice President, Procter & Gamble Far East from 1985 to 1992 and later Vice President and Managing Director, Procter & Gamble Worldwide. Prior to P&G, he was Chairman and Managing Director of Richardson Hindustan Limited from 1981 to 1985, the company where he started as a trainee. He currently consults with a number of companies on global corporate strategy and is associated with a private equity fund.

Gurcharan Das graduated with honors from Harvard University in Philosophy and Politics. He later attended Harvard Business School (AMP). He is an independent Director on the SKS board.

P.H. Ravikumar, Former Managing Director & CEO of National Commodities & Derivatives Exchange Ltd. (NCDEX)

Mr. Ravikumar has 32 years of banking experience, spanning retail, corporate and treasury banking areas in India and abroad. Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Ravikumar was Senior General Manager & Head of Emerging Corporates (SMEs) & Agri Business at ICICI Limited. His responsibilities included business strategy and risk management and he helped this unit become an industry leader in a short span of time. As Head of Agri Business, his role included similar responsibilities. In its first full year of functioning, the bank emerged as the second largest lender to the agri business sector in India, with disbursements of over Rs. 20 billion.

Mr. Ravikumar was awarded the Gold Medal for Excellence in Banking by French Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Economy. He is a regular guest speaker on issues in banking at Bankers' Training College, National Institute of Bank Management and other major Institutes of Management. He is an independent Director on the SKS Board.

Sumir Chadha, Managing Director of Sequoia India

Sumir Chadha is a Managing Director with Sequoia Capital India. Sequoia Capital India was formed by merging Sequoia Capital and WestBridge Capital Partners, India's leading venture capital fund, which Sumir co-founded in 2000. Sumir has been investing in the Indian venture capital industry for the past ten years in several industries including offshore services, consumer internet and financial services. Prior to co-founding WestBridge, Sumir was a member of the Principal Investment Area at Goldman Sachs & Co., where he led a number of successful software and services investments. Prior to that, Sumir worked at McKinsey & Co. in New York and New Delhi. Sumir received an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School and a BSE in Computer Science from Princeton University. Sumir is the co-founder and Chairman of the US-India Venture Capital Association (US-IVCA) and also a Charter Member of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE).
Geoff Woolley, Founding Partner, Dominion Ventures; Chairman, European Venture Partners

Geoff Woolley is founding partner of Dominion Ventures, Inc., which he founded in 1985, Chairman of European Venture Partners and Chairman of MACC Private Equity. For over 25 years, Geoff has been involved in financing more than 300 emerging growth companies, including Ceina, Coinstar, Hotmail and Human Genome Science while managing more than $1.5 billion in cumulative assets. His non-profit experience includes being the founding chairman of the NAMES Project Foundation, (the AIDS Memorial Quilt) and working with foundations to empower the less fortunate. He founded and chairs the University Venture Fund at the University of Utah, the nation’s largest and most successful student led venture fund. Geoff holds a B.S. in Business Management from Brigham Young University and an M.B.A from the University of Utah. Geoff Woolley represents Unitus on the SKS Board.

Dr.Tarun Khanna, Independent Director Professor in Harvard Business School and Head Strategy Course

Dr. Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School, has been a member of the faculty since 1993, where he studies, and works with, multinational and indigenous companies and investors in emerging markets worldwide. He has served as course head of the required Strategy course in the Harvard MBA program, and chaired the executive education program on Strategy, Leadership & Governance. Currently, he teaches in Harvard’s comprehensive general management executive education programs. He earned a Bachelors of Science in Engineering degree from Princeton University in 1988, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University in 1993. A forthcoming book, Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India Are Reshaping Their Futures and Yours, will be published by Harvard Business School Press (Penguin in South Asia) in 2008. In 2007, he was nominated to be a Young Global Leader (under 40) by the World  economic Forum.

Chandra Shekaran, Nominee Director, Former Executive Director, SIDBI

Chandrashekaran is a veteran in the banking industry with an extensive stint at the apex banking institution SIDBI. He has extensive exposure to understanding the needs and potential of the under-developed regions of the country, creating not only income generating avenues for the poor but also rural employment and overall rural economic growth, by virtue of his work at SIDBI. He retired recently as head of credit at SIDBI and represents SIDBI on the SKS Board.


Mr. Paresh Patel, Founder and Managing Partner of Sandstone Capital

Paresh Patel is CEO of Sandstone Capital, an India-focused hedge fund. Sandstone is a value-oriented investment partnership focused on long-term opportunities in India, with a preference for deep value, special situations, midcaps and complex opportunities. Sandstone Capital has an office in Boston. Prior to Sandstone Capital LLC, Paresh Patel was Managing Director of Sparta Group, the private investment office of Gururaj Deshpande, founder of Sycamore Networks. At Sparta, Paresh invested with Desh in early-stage ventures in the US and India - including A123 Systems, Indian Lotus, Relicore and Tejas Networks. Paresh is a graduate of Harvard Business School and Boston College.

Mr. Ashish Lakhanpal, Founder & Managing Director, Kismet Capital, LLC

Kismat Capital is a lead firm that focuses on special opportunities in real estate and private equity. Raised over $50 MM from family office investors and executed $50 MM in private equity, mezzanine, and distressed deals in the U.S., India, and Southeast Asia. LLC’ has invested investment activities at Family Office with assets worth $200 MM. Executed and managed $80 MM worth of direct private equity, real estate, and venture capital investments. Allocated capital to third party investment managers. Mr. Ashish Lakhanpal completed Bachelor of Arts, Summa Cum Laude, in History & Government (International Relations) & Master of Business Administration, 2000.