Opening his heart on his last day as the Director of the Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad (IIM-A), outgoing head Ashish Nanda said that he was waiting for the right time to take an exit after family priorities prompted him to resign.
In an informal chat with media on his last day at IIM-A, Nanda shared his experience of being at the top of one of the premiere business institutions in the country.
“There were several mammoth challenges while taking certain decisions during the course of operations. They were challenging situations, but never disheartened me. Either I enjoyed or learned from such situations,” said Nanda.
Nanda’s resignation in April this year had come as a surprise to many in the academic circles, as he had announced stepping aside from the post well ahead of his five-year term ended in September 2018.
Commenting on the timing of his resignation, Nanda said: “I wanted to go at a time when my heart would feel heavy and people would ask why are you going? I didn’t want to stay back till the time, when people would start asking when are you going..”
Highly qualified with global experience in business education, Nanda had taken the charge of directorship as a successor to Prof Samir Barua in September 2013.
An alumnus of the 1983 batch of IIM-A, Nanda was Robert Braucher Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School before taking the role of IIM-A Director. Then Chairman of the Board of Governors and Chairman of L&T Group, AM Naik had persuaded Nanda to ‘come to India from the US’ and head the institute.
Nanda’s three-and-half years of tenure is being seen as a time of several firsts for the institute, such as introduction of e-PGP courses — online two-year course targeting working executives and entrepreneurs. Under his guidance, the institute got a new dimension with introduction of nearly 15 chaired professorships in areas such as leadership, strategic management and societal development.
Nanda’s tenure as the Director also brought infrastructural upgradation for the institute, through the ambitious project of restoration and conservation of dorms, library, iconic Luis Kahn Plaza, besides other structures on the campus, which required massive repairs.
Terming the timing of his exit as a ‘good time as any for leadership transition at the institute’, Nanda wrote to the members of the IIMA Community, “Personally, living a long distance from my wife and son has been a challenge. When I joined, I had committed to serving at most one term. On September 1, it will be four years to the day, since I took charge. It is a good time to step aside and to hand over the responsibility and honour of leading the institute to the next, fortunate person.”
Nanda wished Prof Errol D’Souza a great success as Director-in-Charge for a duration of six months or till the appointment of the regular Director, whichever is earlier.