In his article -- and in this post -- about how Ravi Mathai nurtured IIM-A during its early years , T.T. Ram Mohan is clearly impressed by some of the governance practices institutionalized by Mathai. Here's a sample:
... [W]hat is, perhaps, Mathai’s greatest bequest to IIMA: the principle of a single term for the director. After six years as director, Mathai stunned the community by announcing his decision to step down and stay on as professor. He gave two reasons for doing so.
One, leaders of academic institutions tended to use their positions for career advancement; this was not good for the institutions. Two, it was important to establish the principle that the director’s position is not hierarchical; he is only first among equals. You are professor, you become director and then you become professor again.
This one contribution of Mathai’s cannot be overstated. In the present scheme of things, the director has sweeping powers. The board of governors does not quite have the monitoring authority of a corporate board. Faculty governance can work only to the extent the director is willing to let it work.