Founder & Chairman
Founder and Chairman of Central Square Foundation (CSF) and a Founding Member of Ashoka University. Prior to this, he worked for twenty years in the investment management business and ran one of India's leading private equity funds, ChrysCapital. In June 2012, he left his full-time role at Chrys Capital to start CSF to pursue evidence driven and innovation led system reform in school education. Ashoka University is a not for profit university that aims to offer an Ivy League-quality undergraduate programme in India, based on the US liberal education system.
Ashok advises CSF on its investment, ecosystem, research and advocacy efforts.
He currently works as a independent Strategic Consultant assisting a wide range of industries including , Technology and Outsourcing,IT services, Financial Services, Data Analytics, Consumer Durables, QSR / Food and the Power sectors. Prior to this, Ashok was President and Country Head for San Francisco-headquartered Global Vantedge and earlier an Associate COO at Wipro Spectramind. With over 30 years of experience, Ashok has demonstrated leadership ability to start up, manage, turn around, and act as a ‘hands on’ Strategic Consultant to turn around and deliver results in companies in both high growth and stress environments.
Ashok has a MBA (PGDBM) from XLRI, Jamshedpur and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Delhi University. He was ranked first and awarded the Gold Medal at XLRI Jamshedpur.
Girindre Beeharry, director, Global Education Learning Strategy, leads the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s efforts to produce global public goods (data, evidence, innovation) that can inform local education policy reform in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Girindre previously served as director of BMGF’s India Country Office, overseeing the Foundation’s work in health, sanitation, financial inclusion, and agriculture, in service of India’s most vulnerable communities. Before that, he was the director of strategy of BMGF’s Global Health division, and worked to ensure that life-saving technologies would be accessed by the people for whom they were developed. Prior to joining BMGF in 2005, Girindre worked in business development for immunization at Becton, Dickinson, and Co. He also worked as a senior health economist in the Latin America and Caribbean Region at the World Bank from 1997 to 2002.
Girindre read Economics at the universities of Paris and Oxford. He has worked in Latin America, Asia, and Africa since 1994.
Gulzar Natarajan joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1999. He is currently on leave, working with a London-based international development organisation, Global Innovation Fund. He has previously held leadership positions as Municipal Commissioner of Vijayawada, Chairman and Managing Director of Eastern Power Distribution Company of Andhra Pradesh, the District Collector of Hyderabad, the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Infrastructure Corporation of the Andhra Pradesh state, and in the Government of India. He holds a Bachelor’s in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, and a Master’s in International Development (MPA- ID) from Harvard Kennedy School.
Luis Crouch is the Chief Technical Offìcer of RTI's International Development Group. Luis is an education economist (agricultural economist by training, PhD Berkeley 1981--education being a post-PhD interest). He has specialized in policy, decentralized finance (e.g., funding formulas) and decentralization, political economy of reform, education statistics and projections. Dr. Crouch also served as head of the Global Good Practices Team at the World Bank's Global Partnership for Education Secretariat.
He has worked closely with governments advising on reform processes, including South Africa's funding reforms and more recently Egypt's decentralization reforms. He has worked on or studied some 20 countries in all regions of the world, but with a focus on Latin America, Southern and Eastern Africa, and Indonesia.
His more recent work is in early grade reading and Early Childhood Development, as key entry-points to improving quality. He has worked in more than 25 countries in a 30-year career in development, and is the author of reports, technical papers, and books. Luis studied Agricultural Economics at the University of Berkeley.
Sri Rajan is chairman of Bain & Company, India. He is an active contributor to the firm's Customer Strategy & Marketing, Private Equity, Industrial Goods & Services and Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT) practices.
He has over 20 years of management consulting experience in India and the United States. Sri is an active investor in the startup ecosystem in India and is on the board of Delhivery. He is also on the Advisory Boards of various social organizations, including Akshaya Patra.
Sri earned his MBA from the Wharton School of Business, where he was a Palmer Scholar. He graduated with a post-graduate degree in management from IIM, Calcutta.
Yamini Aiyar is the President and Chief Executive of CPR. Her research interests are in the field of social policy and development. Yamini founded the Accountability Initiative at CPR. The Accountability Initiative has produced significant research in the areas of governance, state capacity and social policy. Yamini’s own research on social accountability, elementary education, decentralisation and administrative reforms has received both academic and popular recognition.
Yamini Aiyar is a TED fellow and a founding member of the International Experts Panel of the Open Government Partnership. She has also been a member of the World Economic Forum’s global council on good governance. Previously, she has worked with the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program and Rural Development unit in Delhi, where she focused on action research aimed at strengthening mechanisms for citizen engagement in local government. Additionally, she was a member of the decentralisation team at the World Bank that provided policy support to strengthen Panchayati Raj (local governance) in India.
She is an Alumna of the London School of Economics, St. Edmund's college Cambridge University, and St Stephen’s College, Delhi University.
Bikkrama is a Managing Director at Central Square Foundation’s and co-leads CSF’s strategy, operations and external partnerships. Further he leads CSF’s work across Policy Advocacy & Communications, Ed-tech, Private school sector, Public governance, Research and M&E and Early Childhood Education.
Previously he led CSF’s work on governance and school systems focusing on issues related to assessment, state engagement and policy research. He also helped build organisation’s portfolio and approach in early childhood education and in School to Work Transition.
He joined CSF with training in economics, business and education. Prior to joining CSF, Bikkrama, a Teach For India (2011) Fellow, worked for two years as an elementary school teacher in a municipal school in Delhi. He has also worked as a management consultant with Accenture in India on a variety of projects related to change management, performance improvement, cost reduction and supply chain.
Bikkrama is an MBA from INSEAD and holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Shaveta is Managing Director at Central Square Foundation. Shaveta has been part of the founding team at CSF, and co-leads CSF's strategy, operations and strategic partnerships. She leads CSF’s work on FLN (Foundational Literacy & Numeracy) across State engagement & Classroom Instruction, Grant-making, and also oversees CSF’s organizational development.
Shaveta has previously led CSF's work on human capital and institutional structures in Education- across teachers, school leaders, academic institutions and structures.
She brings to the team almost two decades of professional experience in management and education. Her corporate background includes work at The Boston Consulting Group and Citibank. She has also been a visiting faculty member in the Human Resources and Organizational Behavior disciplines at business schools. Her primary areas of interest are systems adoption at scale and leadership & organizational behavior, and she is certified in the psychometric tools MBTI, FIRO-B and FIRO-Business.
Shaveta earned her bachelor’s degree in Economics from Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi and holds an MBA in Management from IIM, Bangalore.
Gouri leads the Foundation’s work in the area of Education Technology.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Gouri was part of the early leadership team at the National Skill Development Corporation, a PPP created with the objective of funding private sector initiatives in the skill development space. At the Corporation, Gouri worked on identifying opportunities for investments, developing the research base for skills and conceptualising and implementing state level projects. Prior to the NSDC, Gouri was a Project Leader with the Boston Consulting Group and did extensive work in the Financial Services domain across areas of strategy, operations and transformation.
Gouri is a rank holder Chartered Accountant and a MBA from IIM Bangalore.
Rahul leads the governance work at the Central Square Foundation.
Prior to joining CSF he was at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and before that at NITI Aayog, the Indian government's policy think tank. In both institutions he worked on identifying ways to improve governance in India. He has previously carried out research on economic and social sector policy at Brookings India and the Indian School of Business, and also worked in the corporate sector in consulting and marketing roles.
He has an MBA from IIM Calcutta and a Master's in Economics from the University of British Columbia.
Saurabh leads CSF's work on DIKSHA and on ICAP (India Content Accelerator Program)
Saurabh has rich experience in the education space building EnglishLeap, an online English learning application , which was used by more than two million users and was one of the top edicarion applications on the Google Play Store. Prior to leading EnglishLeap, Saurabh worked in analytics and worked across continents with Fortune 500 clients.
He holds a bachelor's degree in Commerce from Shriram College of Commerce, University of Delhi and a MBA from IIM Lucknow.
Amitav is Founder CEO, The Education Alliance, an NGO based in India with an objective of enabling quality education through partnerships between government and the NGO sector.
Prior to this Amitav was Country Director, ARK India, a UK based NGO. As their CD, Amitav was responsible for launching several programmes around school leadership, english literacy, school vouchers and school quality assesments. Amitav began his post MBA career in the USA working for Bristol Myers Squibb & Co. based in Princeton. Amitav has also been a part of his family run food processing business since 1994.
Amitav was educated at the Doon School, Dehra Dun and went on to study Economics at the St. Stephens College, Delhi University. He got his MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and worked in the US for 4 years before returning home. Amitav is an Aspen India Leadership Initiative 3 Fellow and an Ashoka Fellow 2016.
Azad Oommen is the co-founder of Global School Leaders, a non-profit that develops effective school leadership to improve learning of students from marginalized communities around the world. He was the founding Executive Director of the Central Square Foundation (CSF), an India-based venture philanthropy fund that invests in systemic reforms to improve the quality of student learning. He has worked extensively to promote young leaders, having run leadership development programmes for the American India Foundation in India, City Year in South Africa, and the Congressional Hunger Center in the US. He serves on the boards of the Central Square Foundation and the India School Leadership Institute.
Azad has a Masters degree in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and a Bachelors degree in International Economics from Georgetown University.
Pramath Raj Sinha is Managing Director of 9.9 Media (9dot9.in), a niche media company he founded. He spent 13 years with McKinsey and Company, where he was a partner. Before founding 9.9 Media, he was the MD & CEO of the ABP Group, one of India’s leading and most diversified media conglomerates.
Pramath is the Founding Dean of the Indian School of Business (ISB), one of the world’s leading business schools. He is also the Founder & Trustee of an acclaimed new liberal arts university, Ashoka University (ashoka.edu.in), which launched the popular Young India Fellowship (youngindiafellowship.com) in 2011. Pramath has now launched a new post-graduate programme that addresses the crying need for more women professionals. The Vedica Scholars Programme for Women is a unique 18-month full-time and residential “reimagined MBA” programme that attracts high-potential women from across India.
Pramath received M.S.E. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.Tech. in Metallurgical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.
Puneet Dalmia is the Managing Director of Dalmia Bharat Group.
He has over a decade of experience in the industry having started his career as the co-founder and Chairman of one of the most profitable e-recruitment websites in India, JobsAhead.com, which was later acquired by Monster.com, a Nasdaq listed multinational company. Puneet conceptualized the growth strategy and governance architecture for the company to focus on its core businesses and is spearheading the growth plans for the group.
He holds a B.Tech. degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and is a gold medalist from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore in strategy and marketing.
Sridhar Rajagopalan is a co-founder of Educational Initiatives Pvt. Ltd. (EI), a company that has helped change the way student learning outcomes are seen in India. EI offers ASSET, India’s leading private school assessment and Mindspark, a personalised learning program that has featured as a Harvard Business Study case. Sridhar has been a member of various central and state government committees related to education including the committee for devising model rules for the Right to Education Act in Gujarat. He is currently based in the US and heads EI’s US subsidiary.
Sudhir is an entrepreneur involved in information technology, education and aviation businesses. He has over 14 years of experience in the Project Finance space. After graduating with an MBA from INSEAD, Sudhir worked for The International Finance Corporation, Washington DC. During his time with IFC, he was responsible for evaluating business plans across the globe in diverse sectors.
Tom is based in the US and plays an active role in the Foundation’s operations, investment programme and stakeholder management. Tom has spent much of his career managing equity investments for institutions both in large developed markets and frontier markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Starting 2002, he followed his passion to work on ‘mission-driven’ ventures by adapting his management, strategy and business skills to social development programmes in Africa and India. Since then, he has worked on a variety of purely philanthropic and impact investment programmes to support social change amongst vulnerable communities with a focus on children’s health and education in Africa and India.
Vikas Srivastava is a Senior Partner with Luthra & Luthra Law Offices. He heads the Direct Tax Practice and has over 30 years of experience in Corporate Tax, International Tax, Transfer Pricing and Tax Litigation. Besides having significant experience in various facets of conceptualisation and structuring assistance for Multinational Enterprises, he has been involved in assisting and representing several MNCs in large-scale litigation before the Indian courts including the Supreme Court of India.
Among his recent accolades, he has been recognised as a leader in tax by Chambers & Partners: Asia 2012 and recommended in Legal 500:2014 for “Tax and Corporate M&A”.