Board Members


Kiran Karnik took over as the Chairperson of Oxfam India Board on August 27, 2010. He was the President of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) and the Managing Director of the Discovery Network in India. He served as the Founder-Director of the Consortium for Educational Communication and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He is on numerous Government committees and has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Council to the previous Prime Minister and Central Employment Guarantee Council, besides chairing the International Steering Committee of the Commonwealth Connects Programme. A post graduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Karnik holds an Honours degree in Physics from Mumbai University. Awarded the Padma Shri in 2007, he was recognised as one of the ‘Stars of Asia’ by Business Week in 2004 and ‘Face of the Year’ by Forbes magazine in 2003. In 1998, the International Astronautical Federation awarded him the Frank Malina medal for space education.


Somasekhar Sundaresan is a partner with J. Sagar Associates, a large national law firm in India. He heads the firm’s securities law and financial sector regulatory practice. He has experience and expertise in advising clients in the area of foreign investment, banking, and the financial institutional sector, mergers and acquisitions, particularly, those involving listed companies. He has advised a number of banks, security issuers, stockbrokers, mutual funds, non-banking financial companies, stock exchanges and foreign institutional investors. In addition to his private practice, he is actively involved in public policy and regulatory affairs in India’s financial sector.


Mridula Bajaj is a specialist in Child Development with more than three decades of experience in programme, research and training. She is currently Executive Director of Mobile Crèches, an NGO that works for children at construction sites. She took over as the Vice Chairperson of the Oxfam India Board in August 2010, and has been a Board member since its inception. Holding a Master’s degree in Science and Child Development from Lady Irwin College, Delhi University, she has worked extensively for empowerment of women and child development.


Ammu Joseph is a journalist and author who writes primarily on issues relating to gender, human development and the media. She began her career in Mumbai in the mid-1970s. In the mid-1980s she edited the Sunday magazine of The Indian Post. Since then she has been contributing to a number of newspapers and magazines, both print and online. Besides the six books she has authored/edited, she has contributed to several other publications, both Indian and international. She received the Donna Allen Award for Feminist Advocacy from the US-based Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the UNFPA-LAADLI Media Award for Gender Sensitivity in recognition of her consistent engagement with gender issues. She has been on the visiting faculty of several institutes of journalism education in India. She is a founder-member of the Network of Women in Media, India.


Neelam Deo is a former Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer who served as India’s Ambassador to Denmark and Cote d’Ivoire, with concurrent accreditation to Sierra Leone, Niger S Guinea. After serving 33 years in the IFS, she co-founded Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations in 2009. She is also a distinguished fellow with the Centre for Air Power Studies, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Morgan Stanley Mutual Fund. Neelam completed her Master’s degree in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics. Prior to joining the IFS, she taught economics in Kamla Nehru College, Delhi University. She has extensive knowledge and exposure to the issues of Africa, South East Asia, India-U.S bilateral relations, Bangladesh and other SAARC neighbours. Neelam is also a frequent commentator on issues that involve India’s economic emergence, diaspora and global politics.


Sutapa Banerjee has spent close to 24 years in the financial services industry across 2 large multinational banks (ANZ Grindlays and ABN AMRO), and a boutique Indian Investment bank (Ambit) where she built and headedseveralbusinesses. A well recognized thought leader in the Wealth Management space having headed and successfully built from scratch the Private Wealth businesses in both ABN AMRO Bank and Ambit Capital, Sutapa was voted one of the ‘Top 20 Global Rising Stars of Wealth Management’ by the Institutional Investor Group in 2007 - the only Indian and one of only two winners from Asia. As CEO she led Ambit Private Wealth to ‘Best Private Bank in India in the 2013 AsiaMoney polls. In 2012 she was shortlisted in the ’50 most Powerful Women’ by Fortune India. Sutapa is an Advanced Leadership Fellow (2015) of Harvard University. Currently she consults in the Wealth and Investments Management area and serves as an Independent/Nominee Director on several boards of companies in the JSW Group, IL&FS Group, Women’s World Banking. Her area of study at Harvard was in the area of Responsible Investing and Business Practices and the use of a Gender Lens. She currently works, writes and speaks actively in this space.


Sunil Verma has been associated for 37 years with the Indian Audit and Accounts Service. He was also associated with Ernst and Young as an advisor. He carried out consulting assignments with the Asian Development Bank (power sector), the International Labour Organisation (rural roads) and the India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and Governance and Accountability Action Plan). He is currently working as member (finance) of the Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory Commission and is a frequent commentator on issues relating to audit by the CAG of India, the defence industry and the electricity sector.


Santosh Desai is the Managing Director and CEO of Future Brands Ltd. He has been the President of McCann-Erickson, one of India’s premier advertising agencies. A post-graduate from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, he has served on the boards of ING Vysya Bank, ACK Media Limited, Future Consumer Products Limited, Breakthrough and CFAR (Centre for Advocacy & Research) and on the Governing Councils of Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad, and Praxis Business School, Kolkata. He writes a weekly column for The Times of India and is the author of Mother Pious Lady - Making Sense of Everyday India, a book that examines how the everyday life of middle class India has evolved.


Anita Ramachandran is a human resource expert with over 35 years of experience as a management consultant. She has been a strategic advisor to many family groups and small and medium enterprise companies. She has been the Chairperson of TIE Women and on the Executive committee of TIE Mumbai and earlier on the Advertising Standards Council of India. Anita is an independent Director on the board of Aditya Birla Retail, Geometric Ltd., Godrej & Boyce and Rane. Having won several academic honours, she is one of the first generation of women professionals to become an entrepreneur. She supports many organisations in the social sector through pro bono professional work and remains deeply committed to work with women.