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As per new IIM Act Senior executives can be recruited as directors

From Now, IIM directors need not hold any Phd degree or be related to academia for being recruited for the post, says the rules notified under new IIM Act this week.  According to the rules, executives, who have been in senior management roles for at least 15 years, will now be eligible to be appointed as directors.

India’s premier business schools have been headed by corporate executives earlier but such examples are very few. Ravi J Matthai, the first full-time director of IIM-Ahmedabad in 1965, and Subir Chowdhury, who headed IIM-Calcutta in the 1990s, are two such examples.

“The examples of executives heading IIMs are mostly from the early days when the institutes were young and talent pool was limited,” said an IIM director who wished to remain anonymous.

Before the IIM Act came into force this January, there were no fixed recruitment rules for the post of director. However, in the last decade, a PhD along with teaching experience has been a prerequisite for the post.

The new rules for all the 20 IIMs state: “The applicant shall be a distinguished academic with PhD or equivalent having at least fifteen years teaching or research experience and shall have worked as a full Professor at a reputed institution for at least seven years; or shall have industry experience at a higher level for at least fifteen years.”

While justifying the opening up of the post to those with only industry experience, Higher Education Secretary R Subrahmanyam said, “These are institutes of management. They prepare people for the management role. Someone who has been an Executive Director or Managing Director can prove to be invaluable to an IIM”.

On being asked the removal of academic credentials such as PhD as a criterion, he said: “Some of the biggest businesses and institutions have been set up by people with limited academic credentials.”

However, IIM Bangalore’s G Raghuram, expressed concern over the new provision. “Ideally, a director should be one with a background of academic experience. If a director has industry experience in addition to academic experience, it could be a value-add. Preferably, the academic experience should be recent,” he said.

IIM-Ahmedabad director Errol D’Souza was more blunt. “I believe it is a mistake. It seems someone messed up in the drafting,” he said.

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