IIM-C Director ‘quits’ after row with Board on her executive powers

The reported resignation comes a year ahead of the expiry of her term

A row over Anju Seth's powers had erupted last month in the premier management institute.

Anju Seth, the first woman director of Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta (IIM-C) has resigned, around a year before her term ends, media reports said, adding her exit was due to differences between her and the board over her powers.

Seth had alleged that the institute’s Board chairman Shrikrishna Kulkarni was interfering in her executive powers. The Board had responded by accusing her of improper conduct.

In February this year, the Board had passed a resolution and taken away Seth’s powers to make appointments and take disciplinary action.

Seth has reportedly gone on sick leave and has not reacted to her reported resignation. The IIM Act states that an institute’s Board should initiate a new director’s appointment nine months ahead of the post falling vacant. However, the institute was already looking for her replacement, media reports said.

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If Seth’s resignation is confirmed, then the premier institute would join IIM-A and IIM-B that have seen premature departure of their directors hired from abroad. Seth was the Pamplin professor of management at Virginia Tech in the US before joining IIM-C. Before joining Virginia Tech, she was Professor of Business Administration at University of Illinois.

A large number of IIM-C faculty members last December sought the government’s intervention to “arrest its decline” and look into the complaints against its director. The teachers expressed disenchantment over serious ‘administrative’ and ‘academic’ lapses. The letter was written to the Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Amit Khare, on December 2.

The letter spoke of a number of concerns have “accumulated over the current Director’s tenure, the result of a style of functioning that is arbitrary, discriminatory, and, having a very narrow vision”.

“There is faculty and staff shortage, and reduction in spending on research,” the letter said. The director “has sought to run the Institute with complete disregard for extant norms, rules and processes, thereby attempting to erase the legacy of a 60-year-old public institution of higher education of national and international repute”.

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