US-India Business Council president Ron Somers is leaving the trade body to start a strategic consulting firm focussed on business opportunities in the two countries.
Somers resigned his position with immediate effect, said a USIBC announcement on Tuesday, adding his deputy Diane Farrell will officiate till a replacement was found.
“I am rededicating my commitment to India, by assisting U.S. investors who seek to enter the Indian market, and helping Indian companies navigate their welcome entry to America,” Somers told Hindustan Times.
“The over-arching goal remains the same: to nudge these two great, free-market democracies ever-closer together,” he added, signing off, as always, with “Jai Hind, God Bless America.”
Somers had been at the helm of the USIBC for 10 years.
Though a part of the powerful US Chamber of Commerce, the USIBC was recently seen to be in conflict with its parent body over trade issues regarding India.
While the chamber of commerce pushed for sanctions against India to bring it into line with US trade priorities, Somers publicly differed, through statements and opeds.
He also testified in India’s favor at the US International Trade Commission during a recent hearing into so-called discriminatory trade practices by India.
He is now moving on, perhaps to utilize his long association with India, going beyond his leadership to the USIBC — starting as a USAID representative in 1992.
Global power giant Cogentrix stole him from USAID to head the development of its $1 billion, 1000 MW Mangalore Thermal Power Project in Karnataka.
After five years, another energy major, Unocal Corporation, hired him to head its India operation, which ran many projects jointly with public and private sector companies.
And then he joined USIBC, in 2004.
“Ron has brought incredible energy, experience, and insight to the U.S.-India Business Council,” said MasterCard’s Indian-born CEO and USIBC chair Ajay Banga.