Vikram Akula Steps Down as Executive Chairperson of SKS Microfinance
Nov '2011

P.H. Ravikumar, who has been on the Board of SKS Microfinance for five years, takes over as the new Non-Executive Chairperson-Interim with immediate effect

Mumbai, November 23, 2011 – SKS Microfinance Limited today announced that its Founder and Executive Chairperson, Dr. Vikram Akula, has stepped down as Chairperson and Member of the Board of SKS Microfinance Limited. He will remain a consultant to the Company until the end of March 2012 to assist with transition. 

Mr. M.R. Rao, Managing Director & CEO of SKS, said, “Vikram’s entrepreneurial vision has been the foundation for SKS. We wish him success in his future endeavors.”

Mr.  Puranam Hayagreeva Ravikumar, who has been on the Board of SKS Microfinance for five years, takes over as the new Non-Executive Chairperson-Interim of the Company with immediate effect. Mr. Ravi Kumar has also been the Chairperson of the Audit Committee of the Board of SKS Microfinance for four years.

A commercial banker with over 37 years of experience in the financial services sector, Mr. Ravikumar was part of the core team which set up and built ICICI Bank Limited from inception. He was also the founder Managing Director and CEO of National Commodities & Derivatives Exchange Ltd.

Welcoming the new Chairperson, Mr. Rao said, “As a Board Member and Chairman of the Audit Committee, Mr. Ravikumar has been a pillar of strength for the entire senior management of SKS Microfinance at all times. During the last one year, when the microfinance sector has witnessed a paradigm shift, his inputs have been crucial in revitalizing the Company.”

Professor Tarun Khanna, the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School and also an Independent Director of SKS, said, “Vikram’s efforts, supported by his leadership team with rich and diversified experience, have brought global recognition for the microfinance sector in India. We will certainly miss Vikram at SKS, but I am certain that SKS will continue to redefine the lives of tens of millions – up significantly from the present 6.9 million -- of borrowers in the coming years while setting newer benchmarks of service and client protection.”

Mr Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, General Partner of Silicon Valley VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Founder, Khosla Ventures, who continues to hold a significant stake in SKS, said, “Vikram turned an idealistic vision into a business that today serves millions of rural women. I have witnessed firsthand the amazing impact SKS has had in India. But a lot more needs to be done. If the fruits of liberalization are to reach rural India in a manner where the impact is seen and felt all round, companies like SKS have to play a greater role. The Company management has done very well in ramping up its network across 19 Indian states in a record time and, consequently, has been in position to pass on the benefits of operations of scale to its 6.9 million borrowers. I expect SKS’ highly capable

and competent Management to sustain this unprecedented track record of performance in the years to come.  I wish them all success in brightening up the lives of less privileged who are yet to be impacted by India’s economic liberalization.”

Commenting on his move, Dr Akula said, “I am confident that the current leadership of SKS is well equipped to take SKS into the next phase of its evolution. I will, of course, remain committed to the sector, and will continue my involvement in the industry at a policy level.  I will also be involved in a mobile banking initiative. This type of technology—with its ability to help lower costs and increase convenience—will create an improved platform for microfinance.

Looking back on his achievements at SKS, Dr Akula commented, “When I founded SKS in 1997, my dream was to create a movement that would lead to financial inclusion of the poor. I am proud to look back with satisfaction at many things SKS has achieved since then — ranging from helping to prove that poor people, particularly poor women, are creditworthy to bringing microfinance into the mainstream of the national agenda. I will also cherish the memories of having been able to work with a committed team at SKS, especially our dedicated field staff.”

About SKS Microfinance Limited:
SKS Microfinance Limited (SKS) is a non-banking finance company (NBFC), registered and regulated by Reserve Bank of India, whose mission is to eradicate poverty by providing financial services to the poor.
SKS operates across 19 states of India. They include: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Delhi.
SKS has been recipient of many awards, which include Social and Corporate Governance Award by BSE, NASSCOM Foundation for Best Corporate Social Responsibility Practice (2007), Social Performance Reporting Award (MFIs) - Silver Category for Social Performing rating conducted by MIX market (2009) etc.
For further information please contact:
J S Sai
Executive Vice President - Public Affairs
SKS Microfinance Limited