Meleveetil Damodaran is a thought leader, business executive, and former government official. He is presently Advisor and Chief Representative in India for the ING Group of Netherlands. He served as the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), India’s financial markets regulator, from February 2005 to February 2008. Prior to this, he served as Head of IDBI, a development finance institution which he converted to a bank. He was also Chairman of Unit Trust of India, then India’s largest mutual fund from July 2001 to December 2004. He belongs to the Indian Administrative Service, Manipur-Tripura cadre, which is the administrative civil service of the Government of India. Damodaran also served as Joint Secretary of the Banking Division of the Indian Ministry of Finance for five years.
He began his career in the Indian state of Tripura, where he served in different developmental and regulatory positions. He was appointed Tripura’s Chief Secretary in 1992, making him the youngest person ever in India to hold such a position in a State Government.
In 2001, Meleveetil Damodaran was appointed the Chairman of Unit Trust of India (UTI) to rescue India’s largest and oldest investment institution, which had collapsed. He restored UTI to health in arguably the most successful turnaround story in Indian financial sector history. He was simultaneously given charge of Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), another of India’s major financial institutions. Here, he created the unique Stressed Assets Stabilisation Fund, which helped clean IDBI’s books, facilitating its conversion to a commercial bank and its merger with another bank.
As Chairman of SEBI, Damodaran brought improved corporate governance practices to India’s securities market. He was the Chairman of the Taskforce on Corporate Governance constituted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). While at SEBI, he was elected Chairman of the Emerging Markets Committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), a position he held till he demitted office as Chairman, SEBI. Among his many contributions was the introduction of QIP, an instrument for follow-on offerings which until then, were going to other markets.
He speaks regularly at forums and high-level panels around the world and his areas of expertise include Financial Management, Securities Markets, Corporate Governance, Public Administration and Leadership.
He has been awarded the Public Service Excellence Award (2009) by All India Management Association, the Economic Times Award for Change Agent of the Year (2006–07), and Finance Man of the year (2004), among other distinctions.