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Michael Pinto

Michael Pinto

Mr. Pinto started his working career as a management trainee with Hindustan Lever in 1966. On his selection into the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) he joined the Government and served with them till his superannuation in 2003. The several assignments that he held include CEO of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), VC and MD of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, CMD, Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation of India (HHEC), Chairman of the Central Cottage Industries Corporation (CCIC), MD Maharashtra State Finance Corporation, Minister (Economic) Embassy of India. Paris, Chairman, Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB), Director General (Shipping) Govt of India, Chairman Jawaharlal Nehru Port and Secretary (Shipping) Govt. of India. The blend of experience, in the private sector where he started his career, as well as the several public enterprises, both at the state and the centre in which he served has given him a unique insight into private public partnerships and how they can be harnessed to increase welfare and improve economic conditions especially in developing countries

Mr. Pinto joined the MSEB at a time when the Board itself was in some difficulty. The controversial project for private power generation already negotiated with Enron had been the subject of immense criticism and was about to be scrapped. Following Government’s decision to order the stoppage of work on the project, Mr. Pinto assisted a special committee, appointed by the Government of Maharashtra, to re-frame the outlines of the project in a form that was more acceptable to the authorities concerned. He also negotiated with two other private parties for the establishment of important power generation projects in the state. All this was accomplished at a time when private power generation and the guidelines under which it could be allowed were still in their infancy.

As Director General of Shipping, Mr. Pinto was asked to head a National Shipping Policy Committee to formulate a long term perspective plan for Indian shipping. The report of this Committee was the first definitive policy document for the Indian maritime sector and led to several new policy initiatives, notably the opening up of training in the maritime sector to private investment. The report helped create an environment in which development and growth of the Indian fleet was placed on top of government’s agenda.

Mr. Pinto’s next assignment was with the Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNP), India’s largest container port and one that has placed India on the world map in the port sector. Both as Chairman of JNP as well as the Indian Ports Association (IPA) Mr. Pinto played a stellar role in opening the port sector to private investment and in popularizing the concept of the landlord port. Thanks largely to these efforts, a sector that was long considered to be a government monopoly, was able to attract investment, both private and foreign, of more than $ 2 Billion. The growth in container handling in JNP has been considerable, and, with the port sector proving to be a good investment opportunity, another privately operated container terminal, has already started functioning in the port with two more terminals expected to come up soon. Mr. Pinto also headed a committee of management that successfully negotiated a settlement with workers of all major ports. For the first time in the history of the port sector, the agreement was for 10 years instead of the customary 4.

As Secretary to the Govt. of India Mr. Pinto helped shape maritime policy and ensure a greater role for private investment in this sector. He forcefully articulated India’s stand at several international fora like the IMO, the OECD and the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH). He has been a speaker on port and shipping related matters at several international seminars. Mr. Pinto was the first (and so far the only) Indian to be elected as Vice Chairman of the council of the IMO.

After his retirement from government in 2003, Mr. Pinto was asked by the Government of Maharashtra to chair an expert group to prepare the case of the state government for enhanced assistance from the 12th Finance Commission. After this assignment was successfully completed, he was asked to chair the Maharashtra Board for Reconstruction of State Enterprises which he did till April 2005. He was, till recently, the Vice Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities in the rank and status of Union Minister of State. In addition to these activities Mr. Pinto has been appointed as an independent director on the boards of companies like IL&FS, Gateway Distriparks Ltd., Star paper Mills Ltd. Etc.

In recognition and appreciation of his sterling contribution to the Indian Maritime Industry Mr. Pinto was honoured with the Varuna Award in 2010. This is the highest award given in the maritime sector and is a tribute to Mr. Pinto’s long record of service to the industry as well as his enduring concern for its welfare. He was also honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Mala Award Ceremony, the prestigious function at which outstanding contributions to the maritime sector are recognized.

His wife Nalini Pinto is well known in the educational field and, after a distinguished innings as Vice Principal of Bombay International School, is currently the Principal of Hillspring International School. One of his daughters had a highly successful career as a TV journalist with NDTV while the other daughter is currently based in Singapore where she works as Brand Director with Procter and Gamble.