Trustees & Patrons
Govindraj Ethiraj is a television and print journalist who has reported and written on Indian business for over 25 years. He is a media executive and entrepreneur whose public interest journalism ventures are safeguarding the transparency, accuracy, and integrity of news in specific and the internet in general in India and world-wide.
Most recently, he founded BOOM, an independent journalism initiative that fights misinformation and explains issues with the larger objective of making the internet safer. He also founded the award-winning IndiaSpend, a public interest journalism outfit which uses data to write and syndicate stories in areas like health, education, environment, and FactChecker, which monitors media, politicians and other figures for accuracy. BOOM and FactChecker were India’s first verified members of the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN), affiliated with Poynter Institute. IndiaSpend is a member of the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN).
Previously, he was Founder-Editor in Chief of Bloomberg TV India, a 24-hours business news service launched out of Mumbai in 2008. He continues to anchor seasonal shows in the business, economy and financial markets space, on Indian broadcast television and on digital.
Prior to setting up Bloomberg TV, he worked with Business Standard newspaper as Editor (New Media), and before that, Govindraj spent five years with television channel CNBC-TV18 where he actively drove most of the channels’ programming growth and expansion. Prior to television, he worked in print in The Economic Times and leading business magazines.
Govindraj was named a 2018 McNulty Prize Laureate in recognition for his leadership with BOOM, IndiaSpend, and FactChecker. He is a Fellow of the Inaugural Class of Ananta Aspen’s India Leadership Initiative and the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and winner of the 2014 BMW Responsible Leaders Awards.
Ayaz Memon is a lawyer by qualification and journalist by passion. Memon has worked as a sportswriter, editor and columnist with several newspapers such as Mid-Day, Bombay Times, DNA, Times of India, Hindustan Times, and Deccan Chronicle. He has also been TV commentator/analyst at various times with Star Sports and Sony Sports, apart from news channels Times Now, NewsX, and Network18.
Memon has reported live 10 Cricket World Cups, over 250 test matches and 400 one-day internationals, the 1988 and 2012 Olympics, 1998 and 2010 Commonwealth Games, 1990 Asian Games, the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and the 1991 and 1993 Wimbledon Championships, among several international events. He has also authored four books on cricket and co-authored one on independent India's golden jubilee, India 50 – The Making of a Nation.
Shrikant Karwa consults with the World Bank’s Identity for Development (ID4D) programme, which engages with governments of developing nations in their national ID programme roll-out. He currently volunteers in promoting and teaching about India Stack platform, a bunch of new-age technology platforms, which enables India to become a cashless, paperless and presenceless economy with data democratisation.
His passion for resolving challenges affecting the marginalised, that require efficiency, scale and impact ended in him becoming part of the Aadhaar project from its early days. He was also instrumental in using data analytics to identify frauds in the Aadhaar system. Shrikant Karwa has a bachelor's in chemical engineering from University of Mumbai, India and master's in operation research from Penn State, USA.
Rohini Nilekani is Founder-Chairperson of Arghyam, a foundation she set up with a private endowment, to work on water and sanitation issues in India. She is also Founder-Chairperson of Pratham Books, a charitable trust which seeks to put “A book in every child’s hand.” An ex-journalist, author and philanthropist, Rohini has been deeply involved with development issues for more than a decade. She is currently a member of the Audit Advisory Board of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. She sits on the Boards of many non-profits, notably ATREE (the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment) and Sanghamithra Rural Financial Services. Rohini has authored two books published by Penguin India- a novel – Stillborn – and also a non–fiction account of dialogues she moderated between social and corporate leaders called Uncommon Ground.
Vikram Lal is former Chairman of the Eicher Group. He did his Senior Cambridge from the Doon School in 1957, after which he went abroad to study mechanical engineering at the Technical University Darmstadt in West Germany. He joined Eicher, the family company established by his father, in 1966. Eicher started as the first tractor manufacturer in India in 1960, and eventually branched out into light commercial vehicles in 1986, and then into heavy vehicles. Amongst other businesses, it acquired Royal Enfield, an iconic brand of motorcycles, in 1990. Mr Lal is the president of Common Cause, a public interest NGO pursuing major issues relating to reform, governance and the enforcement of law, since December 2004. He was Vice President of the World Wide Fund for Nature – India for 7 years and a member of the Board of Governors of the Doon School for 6 years. Currently, he is on the boards of Pratham Delhi Education Initiative and Resource Alliance India.
Pirojsha Godrej Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Godrej Group and is instrumental in carrying out Group’s charitable works across many areas like including immunisation for children, family welfare and nature conservation. It was established in 1972 and owns stakes in the holding company, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. The income from dividends is utilised for promoting the objectives of the Trust.
The Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation (IPSMF) has provided financial support to the Spending & Policy Research Foundation (SPRF) for the purpose of reporting and publishing stories of public interest. The IPSMF does not take any legal or moral responsibility whatsoever for the content published by SPRF on its website indiaspend.com or on any of its other platforms.
Forbes Marshall is a leading manufacturer of steam engineering and control instrumentation solutions. Their products and services help customers save energy, improve process quality and throughput, and run a clean and safe factory. They have a global presence in five continents and their customers range from a food-processor or garment factory, manufacturers of consumer products to the world’s largest refineries. Their R&D efforts have resulted in several award winning products. The focus areas of their diverse social initiatives are Education, Entrepreneurship, Health and Community Empowerment; the key stakeholders being women, youth, and children from disadvantaged sections of society. They have been listed several times among the top Best Workplaces in India, by surveys conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute and Economic Times and ranked as one of the best workplaces in Asia.
Haresh Chawla is currently a Partner at True North (formerly India Value Fund Advisors). True North is one of India's most experienced and respected private equity funds, with over $1.5 billion under management. At True North, he focuses on investments in the food and consumer sectors where he identifies and helps transform mid-size businesses.
He is best known though for his leadership in transforming the Network18 Group into a formidable media network. Under his watch as Founding CEO, Network 18 became India's fastest growing Media and Entertainment network. His career at Network18 spanned 12 years, and he grew revenues from $3 million in 1999 to $500 million in 2012. He transformed the company from a TV production house to India's leading multi-media house with over 11 TV channels including Colors and CNBC-TV18.
Haresh holds a bachelor's degree in engineering from IIT Bombay and a master's degree in business management from IIM Calcutta.