Arun Maira - Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF)


Chancellor, Central University of Himachal Pradesh
Chairman, HelpAge International
Former Member, Planning Commission of India
Former Chairman, Boston Consulting Group, India

Discussions on policy and the future of India are enriched with Arun Maira’s views, and not just because he was a member of the Planning Commission of India for five years till June 2014. He is one of those rare people who have held leadership positions in both, the private as well as the public sector, bringing a unique perspective on how the two can work together to foster growth for India. He has led three rounds of participative and comprehensive scenario building for the future of India: in 1999 (with the Confederation of Indian Industry), 2005 (with the World Economic Forum), and 2011 (with the Planning Commission).

In his career spanning five decades, Arun has led several organisations. In the early part of his career, he was a member of the Tata Administrative Service and spent 25 years in the Tata Group in various important positions. He was an executive member of the Board of Tata Motors (then called TELCO) from 1980 to 1989. After leaving the Tatas, Arun joined Arthur D Little Inc (ADL), the international management consultancy, in the US, where he was head of the global organization practice and Managing Director of Innovation Associates, an ADL subsidiary. He advised companies across sectors and geographies on their growth strategies and handling transformational change.

Another decade later, Arun was back in India, this time as the Chairman of the Boston Consulting Group, a position he held for eight years till 2008. The other leadership positions he has held include the Chairman of Axis Bank Foundation and Save the Children, India, and Chairman, Quality Council of India. He was also board member of the India Brand Equity Foundation, the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, and the UN Global Compact.

Recognising his astute understanding of both macro as well as micro policy issues, Arun has been involved in several government committees and organisations, including the National Innovation Council. He has been on the board of several companies as well as educational institutions and has chaired several national committees of the Confederation of Indian Industries.

In 2009, Arun was appointed as a member of the Planning Commission, which is led by the Prime Minister of India. At this minister-level position, he led the development of strategies for the country on issues relating to industrialisation and urbanisation, and drove the formulation of policies and programmes in these areas. He also advised the Commission on its future role.

Presently, Arun Maira is Chancellor of the Central University of Himachal Pradesh, Chairman of HelpAge International, Chairman of the Foundation of MSME Clusters, and President of the Consumer Unity and Trust Society of India. He is also a Member of the Advisory Boards of the Global Economic Symposium and Forum 2000.

With his vast experience and expertise, Arun is respected as a thought leader. He is invited to speak at various forums and has written several books that capture his insights. His most recent book, published in August 2017 is Listening for Well-Being: Conversations with People Not Like Us. His earlier books include An Upstart in Government: Journeys of Change and Learning; Redesigning the Aeroplane While Flying: Reforming Institutions; Remaking India: One Country, One Destiny; and Transforming Capitalism: Improving the World for Everyone