Dr.A.C MUHTIAH - Managing Trustee

Annamalai Chidambaram Muthiah or A C Muthiah heads a group of companies as its Chairman Emeritus that has interests in chemicals, petrochemicals, fertilizer, port facilitation, integrated logistics, electronics, biotechnology and engineering services. As of September 2013, his group’s worth was of the order of USD 1.5 billion. Brands that have been made famous by Muthiah include SPIC, the enduring name in fertilizers.

For decades, Muthiah has generated employment for thousands and created wealth for millions of India’s rural citizens. At the peak of their employment potential Muthiah’s companies employed more than 20,000 persons.

Born on 15 February 1941 to M A Chidambaram and Abirami, Muthiah did his initial schooling in Chennai. Muthiah is a mechanical engineer, graduating in the discipline from the University of Madras and has a degree in advanced management from the University of Detroit.

Muthiah’s father, M A Chidambaram, founded the Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation, known better by its acronym SPIC, which was the first enterprise in Tamilnadu to facilitate India’s Green Revolution at the most opportune time. Muthiah made sure SPIC would become the complete farm inputs provider to the Indian farmer. SPIC, in addition to fertilizers, would also stand for quality seeds, pesticides, growth promoters, input diagnostics and farmers’ training.

Muthiah has always aligned his efforts to the public policy directions of India. If SPIC came about to contribute to the success of the Green Revolution, Muthiah took the lead to participate in India’s liberalization process by starting many industries and by collaborating with some of the biggest names to bring their products and services to India. Caltex, Telstra, Henkel, Pioneer, Huntsman, Toyo, Ciba, Cipan and Technip are some of the names that came together with SPIC in the nineties to augment India’s industrialization. Since the turn of the millennium, Muthiah has also been a keen participant in building up India’s knowledge base.

Muthiah’s interest and investment in business and industry are well known. He was the President of the Federation of Indian Chamber Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the oldest Chamber of Commerce in India, in its platinum jubilee year – 2003. Earlier, he was President of SICCI, the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for an unprecedented nine years from 1979. He was the voice of industry on several bodies that the central and state governments constituted to seek advice on the models and methods of economic development.

There are many other activities, lesser known, but in which he is equally interested. Education, sports administration, community healthcare and culture would be the broad categories in which we can cast Muthiah’s activities other than in business.

Muthiah heads a number of educational institutions in areas as diverse as management, engineering, biotechnology, mathematics, economics, the pure sciences, classical music and dance.

Muthiah is the Chairman of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIMK) since 2004. Muthiah has been the main motivation behind the institute seeing a remarkable growth in the last decade.

Muthiah’s interests in education are eclectic. The Chennai Mathematical Institute is Muthiah’s brainchild. The Institute has an excellent reputation for quality work in pure and applied mathematics. Muthiah is a founder and a member of the Board of Governors of the Madras School of Economics, currently headed by Dr C Rangarajan, Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council. He is the Chairman of the Sri Venkateswara Educational and Health Trust that runs the highly acclaimed Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering, near Chennai. The college has so far produced more than 12,500 properly trained engineers in various disciplines. The M A Chidambaram School and College of Nursing, helmed by Muthiah, enhance the health services strength by 120 skilled nurses each year.

Drawn by a desire to reform and modernize sports, particularly cricket, Muthiah developed an abiding interest in sports administration. He was the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for two terms between 1999 and 2001. Concurrently, he was a Member of the Executive Board of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

As the head of the Tamil Isai Sangam that runs the Tamil Music College in Chennai, Muthiah presides over an institution that is recognized all over for its unique contributions to the preservation and propagation of classical Tamil music and dance.

Muthiah’s foundations engaged in health, nutrition and primary education have been active in the Sivaganga and Pudukkottai districts of Tamilnadu for two decades now. These have been instrumental in reducing malnutrition among children and nursing mothers and thereby improving the infant survival rates in these areas. Each year, more than 10,000 persons from 40 villages of these districts benefit from the free primary health care provided by his medical foundation.

The A C Muthiah Vocational Training Institutes in Tuticorin and Sivaganga bring out 200 fully trained polytechnic diplomates every year. The provision of clean drinking water through reverse osmosis and toilets in 10 schools of these districts has brought down the drop-out rate among primary and secondary school children significantly.

Among the many awards that have recognized and honoured Muthiah’s contributions to industry, business and education are the honoris causa doctorates from Anna University, Chennai and Alagappa University, Karaikudi. Muthiah represented Belgium as its honorary consul for south India between 1998 and 2013.

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