Former Chairman of SEBI, IDBI and UTI and
A member of the premier Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Manipur- Tripura cadre, since 1971, Mr. M. Damodaran has held a number of important positions in both the Central and State Governments and in India’s Financial Sector, before demitting office as Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on February 18, 2008. He graduated with distinction in Economics and Law from the Universities of Madras and Delhi respectively. He has won several awards for his scholastic achievements at both the school and university level.
“I think personal integrity is extremely critical... it is business practice consistent with morality, values and the interest of all stake holders...these and these alone will deliver results over the long term.”
After a career spanning several regulatory and developmental assignments in the state of Tripura, he was appointed as its Chief Secretary in 1992, the youngest ever in the country to hold such a position in the State Government. Thereafter, he worked as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Banking Division, for five years, dealing with Government’s ownership functions of Public Sector Banks and being its interface with Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
In 2001, he was appointed the Chairman of Unit Trust of India (UTI) to rescue India’s largest and oldest investment institution which had collapsed. His restoring of UTI to health and strength is widely acknowledged as the most successful turnaround story in India’s Financial Sector. He was simultaneously given charge of Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), another of India’s major financial institutions that too was restructured by him in an innovative manner, pulling it back from the brink, transforming it to a bank, and merging it with another commercial bank.
As Chairman SEBI, he brought improved practices to India’s securities market. He is widely acknowledged as one of the India’s foremost champions of Corporate Governance. During his tenure at SEBI, he was elected Chairman of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), an eighty members Emerging Markets Committee, for two years.
In addition to being the Advisor on Strategy and Corporate Affairs at ING Group of the Netherlands, he is also its Advisor and Chief Representative in India. He is an Independent Director on the Boards of Hero Honda, Tech Mahindra and Mahindra Satyam and is also a part of their Audit Committees. He is the Chairman of Srei Sahaj e-Village Ltd. and is on the board of GMR Group and GMR Varalakshmi Foundation. Further, he is a Member of Committees at INTACH, Experian Credit Information Co. of India, KPMG and Bessemer Venture Partners.
He is also a part of the Development Evaluation Planning Committee of the Planning Commission. Furthermore, he is the Chairman of the Society and Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Tiruchirappalli. As one of the foremost advocates of Corporate Governance in India, he advises on improving Boardroom performance and is the Chairman of the Taskforce on Corporate Governance constituted by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
He has been a recipient of several prestigious awards for leadership, transformation and Public Services. Some are the Finance Man of the Year 2004, which was conferred by the Bombay Management Association and six other Apex Bodies. He won the Priyadarshini National Award 2002-04 for Public Service. Mr. Damodaran also received the Economic Times Award for Change Agent of the year 2007.
He is also a regular in public speaking. An avid follower of sports, he is the Vice President of All India Tennis Association.