WRI India on Thursday said that Madhav Pai has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the policy think tank focussed developing a low carbon economy.

Pai, who had been serving as the interim CEO for the last few months, has spent 15 years with the institute and is a noted expert on sustainable cities. He joined as WRI India’s CEO on Wednesday.

In his new role, Pai will lead and oversee WRI India’s strategy, operations and activities. He succeeds former CEO O P Agarwal, the institute said in a statement.

WRI India works on projects to transform Indian cities, food, land, water, and energy systems to spur India on in its transition to a low-carbon economy, it added.

Urgent action

Under his leadership as Executive Director of the Sustainable Cities Program, WRI India helped inform national and sub-national policies on urban transport, urban development and electric mobility.

These include the motor vehicle amendment act, the national electric bus program, and the green hydrogen mission. During this time, Pai also helped expand the portfolio of the programme to support partnerships with government bodies in the form of Bengaluru Municipality restructuring, Mumbai Street Lab, Mumbai Climate Action Plan, Surat Clean Air Plan, and technology roll-out for the city bus systems.

“The recent IPCC report urges us to take urgent action to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. This makes it extremely important to support India’s commitments to achieve net zero by 2070 which will require us to transform energy systems, food systems and our current approach to urbanisation,” Pai said.

WRI India is committed to support national and state governments to drive these system transitions by bringing high-quality evidence and research, and working in partnerships with the private sector, peers and community organisations, he added.

Pai earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Mumbai and also holds a master’s degree in Transport Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.