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'Desh' Deshpande to co-chair Obama's Advisory Council

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai 

Gururaj Deshpande

India-born Gururaj Deshpande, chairman of Tejas Networks, A123 and Akshaya Patra, has been appointed co-chairman of US President Barack Obama’s on Innovation and He will support Obama’s by helping develop policies that foster entrepreneurship, and

Popularly known as ‘Desh’, Deshpande is one of the 26 members of the council which includes serial entrepreneurs, university presidents, investors and non-profit leaders. Steve Case and will serve as the other co-chairs.

The announcement was made by US Commerce Secretary at a US Department of Commerce, University Innovation Forum at the University of Michigan. “America’s innovation engine is not as efficient or as effective as it needs to be, and we are not creating as many jobs as we should,” said Locke in a press statement.“The will help the administration develop a broader strategy to spur innovation and enable entrepreneurs to develop breakthrough technologies and dynamic companies, and to all across America. I want to extend my gratitude to the leaders selected to the Their work will be a key component of America’s economic recovery.”

Deshpande is an entrepreneur and philanthropist. He serves as a member of the MIT Corporation and has contributed around $20 million to make possible MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. The Deshpande Foundation is one of the leading philanthropic foundations in the areas of innovation, and international development. Through its grants, the foundation has helped launch innovative companies, assisted non-government organisations develop an international presence and launched partnerships with some of the most remarkable change agents in the world today.

Deshpande does not need another claim to fame. Nevertheless, his brother-in-law is (Murthy’s wife Sudha and Deshpande’s wife Jaishree are sisters). Since 2000, Deshpande and his wife have been involved in several non-profit initiatives that include support for MIT, IIT, TiE, Foundation, Public Health Foundation of India and the Social Sandbox in Hubli, Karnataka.

Born in Hubli, Deshpande graduated in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and went to Canada to do his Master’s and PhD. He used to be an academic before a fellow professor got him into the world of business.

Unlike Murthy, who has focused on Infosys Technologies Ltd since its start in 1981, Deshpande has started and taken public three multi-billion-dollar companies including A123 Systems, which debuted well on Nasdaq.


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First Published: Fri, July 23 2010. 00:45 IST