The Untimely Passing of Dr. Venkataraman Sundararajan

The Untimely Passing of Dr. Venkataraman Sundararajan

It is with profound sadness that we must inform our friends and colleagues of the untimely and unexpected passing of Dr Venkataraman Sundararajan, on April 11th in Khartoum, Sudan.

Rajan, as he was known to many, was an internationally recognized authority on the financial sector. He headed the Centennial Group’s Financial Sector Practice.

Before joining the Centennial Group, he had a distinguished career at the IMF, retiring as Deputy Director of the Monetary and Financial Systems Department. Among other things, he designed and managed the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), co-chaired the Bank-Fund Financial Sector Liaison Committee, led the FSAP missions to the United Kingdom and Canada, and oversaw FSAP work in over 30 countries. He also authored many books and articles on financial topics.

He advised Central Bank Governors from many Islamic countries on how to structure and reform Islamic banking and capital markets within the parameters of international best practices of financial sector governance, regulation and supervision. He was instrumental in helping set up the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) as a standards setting body for Islamic Finance regulation and governance.

In recognition of his ground-breaking work in the field of Islamic Finance, the IFSB is discussing publishing a book on the subject in his honor.

Our deepest sympathies go to his wife and his children. Rajan will be missed by us all.

Obituary in the Washington Post:

IMF economist Venkataraman Sundararajan dies
Sunday, April 18, 2010

Venkataraman Sundararajan, 65, who was an internationally recognized authority on international monetary policies and spent 30 years as a top economist at the International Monetary Fund, died April 11 of a heart attack while on business trip in Khartoum, Sudan.

Dr. Sundararajan, who joined the IMF in 1974, was considered an expert in fiscal and monetary policies and helped develop analytical models to assess the stability of various countries’ financial sectors. During the 1990s, he spent a great deal of time in Eastern Europe, helping the governments of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and other countries transition from communist systems to free-market economies.

He wrote and edited many books and articles on financial policy and helped develop guidelines at the IMF and World Bank for assessing international financial sectors.
After retiring as deputy director of the IMF’s monetary and financial systems department in 2004, Dr. Sundararajan joined the Centennial Group, an international consulting firm. He headed the company’s financial sector practice.

At the Centennial Group, he led efforts in the field of Islamic finance and banking, designing financial practices in keeping with Muslim law. In that role, he helped set up the Islamic Financial Services Board, an international body that promotes stability in the financial and banking industries of the Muslim world. He traveled widely to Islamic countries, including Indonesia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan. When he died in Khartoum, Dr. Sundararajan was working with the country’s central bank.

Dr. Sundararajan was born in Ayyampet in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in statistics from the Indian Statistical Institute in 1964 and 1966, respectively. He received a doctorate in economics from Harvard University in 1971.

He taught at New York University from 1971 to 1974.

Dr. Sundararajan lived in Bethesda and was a benefactor and volunteer at Sri Siva Vishnu Hindu temple in Lanham.

He and his wife, Kalyani Srinivasan Sundararajan of Bethesda, were married in 1974.

She survives, along with two children, Prashant Sundararajan of Boston and Kripa Sundararajan of New York; three brothers; a sister; and two grandchildren.
-Matt Schudel