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Ex- Microsoft India chairman joins Rockefeller

Ravi Venkatesan
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Ravi Venkatesan, former chairman of Microsoft India, has been appointed to the board of trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation. The century-old American not-for-profit organisation, which works in the areas of education and health and has distributed solar power generation across the world, also has an India office.

Venkatesan is the founder and chairman of Social Venture Partners India, a network of philanthropists addressing social problems and is also an independent director on the board of Infosys. At Rockefeller, Venkatesan will be one of the 12 board members. Others include Martin L Leibowitz, managing director of Morgan Stanley and Ann M Fudge, retired chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands. Fudge has also served on the board, having stepped down this June.

Venkatesan is also a Venture Partner at impact investor Unitus Seed Fund, which has backing of investors such as Vinod Khosla, Mike Murray and Mohandas Pai, etc.

WHO IS THE MAN
  • is the founder and chairman of Social Venture Partners India, a network of philanthropists addressing social problems and is also an independent director on the board of Infosys
  • He is also a Venture Partner at impact investor Unitus Seed Fund, which has backing of investors such as Vinod Khosla, Mike Murray, Mohandas Pai

He told Business Standard that Rockefeller is one of the oldest and most-significant philanthropy organisations and it is expanding its India operations. "Half of what I do today is in the realm of social impact and it is a fantastic fit with that agenda," said Venkatesan. "I am thrilled."

The board of trustees is responsible for overseeing the Rockefeller Foundation's programme and grant-making strategy; budgets, expenditures and appropriation policies and guidelines; and investment strategies, allocations and performance.

Board chair David Rockefeller, Jr said: "With our commitment to catalyse new ideas and innovations at The Rockefeller Foundation, I am delighted to welcome Ravi Venkatesan, a proven leader with strong business and technology backgrounds. His experience will be invaluable in advancing the Foundation's commitment to scaling innovations that expand opportunity, realize shared prosperity, and create jobs for more people globally."

The foundation is already running a pilot project across 1,000 villages in India called SPEED to provide electricity where it may take time for the grid to be built.

The statement announcing his appointment said that as chairman of between 2004 and 2011, he helped build India into Microsoft's second-largest presence in the world and one of its fastest growing markets.

He was also instrumental in creating Microsoft India's Project Shiksha, a computer literacy programme, which has so far trained over 40 million school children in India.

He has also authored 'Conquering the Chaos: Win in India, Win Everywhere,' published by Harvard Business Review.

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