Mumbai, India (April 20, 2023) – World Resources Institute (WRI) India has named sustainable development expert Madhav Pai as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In his new role, Pai will lead and oversee the organization’s strategy, operations and activities. Over the course of his 15 year tenure at WRI, he has played an important role in developing its strategy, structure and growth and has held multiple roles including Interim CEO, Executive Director of the Sustainable Cities Program, and Director of EMBARQ. Pai succeeds Dr. OP Agarwal, former CEO and currently a senior advisor with the organization.

“Madhav is a thoughtful and strategic leader that will help WRI meet this critical moment of rapid growth and low-carbon transformation in India. The cities program that he created and led over the last ten years has developed into one of the most impactful programs in India and globally.” said Ani Dasgupta, President & CEO of World Resources Institute. “Madhav not only brings the deep knowledge necessary to enable systems transformation, but he also has a rare understanding of how to effectively build teams for impact. I look forward to seeing how he will continue to shape WRI’s global leadership in this new role.”

As the Executive Director of the Sustainable Cities Program, Pai helped inform national and sub-national policies on urban transport, urban development and electric mobility. These include the motor vehicle amendment act, national electric bus program and the green hydrogen mission. During this time, he also helped expand the Cities portfolio to transform Indian cities, food, land, water and energy systems and to spur India on in its transition to a low-carbon economy.

“I feel confident that Madhav’s leadership will enable a strong, collaborative, and dedicated effort to turn ideas into action and build transformative solutions for the planet and its people,” said Mr. Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman of the Board, India Resources Trust. “As he brings his knowledge of system design, years of experience in positions of leadership as well as his long-standing association with the institution, I look forward to continuing to improve on our path to help foster environmentally sound and socially equitable development.”

As Director of the EMBARQ program at the World Resources Institute, Pai was responsible for lending support to landmark initiatives like Indore Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Raahgiri and BusKaro. He is a published author and has written several research papers for renowned journals and articles and books on urban transport, urban planning, resilience and clean air. A wildlife enthusiast and a believer in the public transport system, he credits his interest in the environment and the development sector to the constant loss of playgrounds that he witnessed growing up.

“The recent IPCC report urges us to take urgent action to avoid the worst consequences of climate change,” said Pai. “This makes it extremely important to support India’s commitments to achieve net zero by 2070 and will require us to transform energy systems, food system and our current approach to urbanization. At WRI India we are committed to support national and state governments to drive these system transitions by bringing high-quality evidence and research, and working in partnerships with the private sector, peers and community organizations.”

Pai earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from University of Mumbai and holds a master’s degree in Transport Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the institute as CEO on 19 April 2023, and is based in Mumbai.

About WRI India

WRI India, an independent charity legally registered as the India Resources Trust, provides objective information and practical proposals to foster environmentally sound and socially equitable development. Our work focuses on building sustainable and liveable cities and working towards a low carbon economy. Through research, analysis, and recommendations, WRI India puts ideas into action to build transformative solutions to protect the earth, promote livelihoods, and enhance human well- being. We are inspired by and associated with World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research organization with more than 400 experts and other staff around the world.