Politics has finally reached the doors of the country’s top business school, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A). The institution runs the risk of going headless after a fortnight, when the extended tenure of its current director, Samir Barua, ends.
A committee appointed in August — headed by AM Naik, managing director of Larsen and Toubro Ltd. — to search for a new director has failed to come up with a nomination, thanks to political polarisation within its members and a split within the IIM-A faculty. Barua’s five-year term ended in October, but he was given an extension as no successor could be found. It is unclear if he would get another extension.
There are two serious contenders from within the IIM-A -- Prof Ravindra Dholakia, brother of former director Bakul Dholakia and senior faculty member Prof Rakesh Basant.
Dholakia’s brother is considered close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Basant is well connected in Delhi and was a member of the Justice Sachar committee appointed by the UPA government.
“The committee members could not reach a consensus on either name,” said an official of the Gujarat government, who deals with the IIM-A, on condition of anonymity.
The latest buzz is that the committee is looking to hire someone from overseas, but that would not be easy, given the remuneration. The IIM-A director post is equivalent to a secretary in the government of India with a basic pay staring at R80,000 per month, but a candidate from abroad could easily demand two million dollars annually.