Ms. Lakshmi Venkatachalam held the office of the Vice President for Private Sector and Co-financing Operations in the Asian Development Bank 2010-15 where she was responsible for leading and managing ADB’s private sector investment operations and its official co-financing activities. She was ADB’s first vice president assigned with this responsibility, and was instrumental in realizing the broad objectives to be relating to private sector development and operations, as enshrined in its Strategic Plan (Strategy 2020).
Prior to her stint at the ADB, she had a career in public service, spanning for more than 30 years, where she held various positions in Government the most recent one being as a Director General of Shipping and ex-officio Additional Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Shipping, in capacity of which, she was the head of the Maritime Administration, implementing the Indian Merchant Shipping Act, which regulates shipping activities under the aegis of the International Maritime Organization.
Her previous extended assignments were in the field of industry and urban development. She worked as a director in the Ministry of Steel, Government of India from 1990 to 1995, following which she was Commissioner of the Bangalore Development Authority from 1995 to 1999. During her stint as Chairperson of the Coffee Board of India, (a statutory body, under the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India) between 2000 and 2005, she represented the Government of India at the International Coffee Organization, located in London. She was also Chairperson of the International Coffee Council in 2001-02, the first Indian to hold the position. Between 2005 to 2008, Ms. Venkatachalam held the position of Principal Secretary to the Government of Karnataka in the Departments of (1) Commerce and Industry, (2) Urban Development and (3) Planning, Program Implementation, Economics and Statistics, respectively.
She graduated from the Convent of Jesus and Mary, Baroda. She continued with her college and university education in Kolkata, where she graduated with a Master’s Degree in English in 1975, from Jadavpur University. Later, in 1988, she obtained two Post-Graduate Degrees in Economics and in Business Administration, from Boston University, USA. She is recipient of a diploma in French from the Alliance Francaise.
She is a frequent speaker at international events - addressing topics such as infrastructure finance, public-private partnerships, inclusive business, affordable housing, the financial sector, renewable energy, agribusiness, clean technology, etc.