The IIMs at Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta (IIM-A,B, and C) are looking for new CEOs, and the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) has placed advertisements seeking applications from prospective candidates [via this post by T.T. Ram Mohan, a professor at IIM-A].
Traditionally, a search committee would seek inputs (and nominations) from various bigwigs about suitable candidates, and select one of the nominees. Thus, an open ad seeking applications is seen as a break with tradition. The Hindustan Times does not like this procedural change at all; in fact, it goes completely ballistic :
The government, through its favourite henchmen in the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, is once again doing what it does best: attempting to stifle the independence of institutions by seeking to control them. And the most unfortunate business of this Orwellian bid to play puppetmaster is that it has now chosen some of India’s finest institutions, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). The HRD Ministry has called for applications for the posts of directors of three IIMs, in Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Kolkata. This is to fill the posts of the three directors whose terms are nearly over, a process that throughout the history of the IIMs was undertaken by the institutes themselves. Now, applicants will have to be vetted by Shastri Bhawan.
MHRD, however, has denied any shady motives behind the ads; in particular, it has clarified that IIM directors will continue be chosen by a search-and-selection committee, and that the ads are meant just for ensuring a diversified pool of candidates.
In a follow-up post, Ram Mohan offers a more nuanced perspective:
The search committee is still there, the board of governors is still represented, it will also be free to go beyond applications received in response to the ad and reach out to eminent academics.
So what are we left with? Well, a clear improvement over the existing process! Earlier, if you considered yourself suitable you would have to beseech some IIT/IIM director to nominate you. Those outside the charmed circle had no chance of staking a claim. Now, the field is open to anybody and, of course, the nominations process is still on and the search committee is free to seek inputs from IIM faculty.
On the role of IIM faculty in the selection process, Ram Mohan makes a few sensible observations. Here's a sample:
The choice of director cannot be reduced to a popularity contest amongst faculty. Perhaps a minimum of acceptability is necessary but the director need not be somebody who gets the highest number of "votes" from faculty. Such a requirement can only promote demeaning behaviour among the contenders for the job at an IIM- and it does. You have people begging for votes from their colleagues. That apart, where an institution needs radical change and an individual stands for such change, lack of acceptability could be a virtue.
There'sa lot more in his post, which you must read.