Dr. R. Seetharaman


 Proud Indian


Dr. R. Seetharaman (www.seetharaman.org), Group Chief Executive Officer of Doha Bank, is a recipient of multiple doctorates from leading universities of the world, including a PhD in Global Governance by European University and Doctorate of Laws by Washington College.
He is a Chartered Accountant and holds certificates in IT Systems and Corporate Management.He has been named “Best CEO in Middle East” and “World Leader Business Person” and is a recipient of “The Gullands Excellence Award as a Phenomenal Banker”. A regular commentator on international finance in global media outfits such as BBC, CNN, FOX, CNBC, Sky News, ABC, and Bloomberg, he has transformed Doha Bank as one of the best performing Banks in the Middle East region.
                                                                                   - By.Ramani V.B

A boy who nearly dropped out of school at eighth standard because he could not afford to pay the school fees is today the man overseeing Banking Group with turnover of Billions of Dollars!!  The boy who had to run all the way to school examination hall because his bicycle was punctured is the man who globe trots with Banking as his business and environment as his special interest.
The boy who gave tuitions to students to get free books is sought after by every channel and media all over the globe for his thoughts and views on economic developments and current affairs. Meet Dr.R.Seetharaman, Chief Executive Officer of Doha Bank Group, Qatar. A self- made man destined to make a difference, his story is awe-inspiring for every young mind aiming big in life.
Hailing from Mayiladudurai, his father, Mr. Raghava Sharma, was a Sanskrit teacher who instilled exemplary moral values and discipline in his son. As quoted by Dr.Seetharaman” Though financially backward we were always intellectually forward and even then my parents intelligently invested on my education and it still remains my capital asset. But money was always short at home”. 
To support his education he aimed for a scholarship and spend sleepless nights and tiring days to achieve top-grade. His school head-master who realised the potential of the young school boy helped him achieve the scholarship. The way to this was very difficult but as the CEO of Doha Bank Group says “I guess it is the hard work and determined attitude that I developed at a young age is what keeps me going forward with a spirit that says never say die” .He did study Grade 9 onward on scholarship .
Furthermore to support his family he used to work at a shop in the town “As a boy, I used to work at a salary of Rs.9 per month to support my family’, reminisces Seetharaman. He remembers of an instance where he had to carry around 10 litres of kerosene and walk 10 kilometres to his house just to save money on transportation. ”Love and compassion for my family still drives my thoughts. Today Doha Bank is my extended family and the same spirits drive my attitude at work”
Dr.R.Seetharaman was a brilliant student and had no difficulty in blazing his way through the academic routines to pick-up the scholastic credentials needed for embarking on a good career in the financial world.   He graduated in commerce from University of Madras, winning a Gold Medal from the University. He went on to complete his Chartered Accountancy. 
Being a qualified accountant, he began his career with Price Waterhouse, a Big 4 audit firm. It was his passion towards economics and technology, which made him shift to Banking and the financial services industry. He invested his time mainly in integrating people, process and technology and actively contribute to value engineering. Gradually he was able to handle multidimensional roles and worked on mergers in the Banking Industry in Oman. He continued to learn in this industry and always look forward to bring in innovations within the financial services industry.
He then moved to Qatar and the launch of his illustrious career started with his joining Doha Bank, Qatar in 2002. He was instrumental in bringing in a turnaround story for Doha Bank. With sincere dedication and commitment has ensured that Doha bank reaches its pinnacle of performance over the past decade. But persisting with untiring effort is a way of life for him.  He introduced innovative products and services,  deployed consumer-centric technology solutions,  adopted newer strategic business models, established full-fledged cross-border branch operations in UAE & Kuwait, Opened representative offices at various financial centres across the globe, floated a 100% owned insurance subsidiary company,  promoted a joint-venture brokerage firm and apart from all this, he was instrumental in developing a unique work culture at the Bank which paved the way for scaling new heights in the Financial Industry in Qatar.
His pragmatism and long-sightedness helped carve out a niche for Doha Bank and drove the growth and development of the bank in line with the Growing Nation of Qatar.  Doha Bank also became the pioneer in Green Banking technology in Qatar. In other words, with his magic touch, Doha Bank Group experienced a spectacular growth amassing awards and accolades like never before from across the globe and the entire finance Industry started looking upon Seetharaman with awe and respect.
Undoubtedly, as the shower of awards indicates, he is the person of the right caliber to head the Doha Bank Group.  He has transformed Doha Bank as one of the best performing bank in the Middle East region and a well-reputed Global Brand.  Under his stewardship, Doha Bank has been judged as the Best Bank repeatedly and has won many awards - such as the Best Bank in Qatar - 2013 by The Banker and the Best Regional Commercial Bank in Middle East 2013 by Banker Middle East. 
Doha Bank had a balance sheet size of more than US$18 billion by end of Dec, 2013.  “That has already become history; I always look ahead; The target for the current is much more; I am confident that the Bank would achieve that”, says Dr.R.Seetharaman with complete self-assurance. 
An economist and genius in financial management, Dr.R.Seetharaman has international statistics at his finger tips.  He has earned innumerable Certificates, medals and awards in the fields of Foreign Exchange, Treasury operations, Banking, Business Management and corporate social responsibility.  A few of the important awards / recognitions conferred on him are:
  • * Doctorate in  Global Governance in 2013 by  European University
  •   Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award
  • * Honorary degree, doctor of Laws 2012 by Washington College.
  • * Doctorate of Honoris Causa 2012 by European University
  • * CEO of the year 2011 in Middle East at EMEA Awards
  • * International Indian of the Year Award 2010 from Govt of India
  • * Best CEO in Middle East Banking Industry 2008 by the Middle East
  •   Awards Institute from Honorable     Dominique de Villepin, Former 
  •   Prime Minister of France
  • * Arab Asian Banker Excellence Award 2006 from Annual Arab Asian
  •   Forum in Singapore
  • * The Phenomenal Banker Achievers Excellence Award from the
  •   President of Mauritius
  • * Lifetime achievement award by NRI institute
  • * Pravasi Achievers Gold Medal 2010 by NRI Welfare Society of India, London
  • * Gullands Excellence Awards for excellence as a phenomenal Banker
In Sept 2013 the Jury members of European University has conferred him with “Doctorate in Global Governance”.
The Honoris Causa award from Washington College for ‘His unique and valuable contribution to society in the field of banking, knowledge management, corporate social responsibility and governance’ was significant as Dr.R.Seetharaman is well known in International media for his analytics and predications on the Financial crisis and global governance and the advocacy of Corporate Social Responsibility. Washington College was the first college that was established in USA in 1782.  The award is a great honour as the list of such recipients in the past includes former US Presidents like George Washington, Roosevelt and George Bush and scientists like James Watson.
He also earned Doctor of Civil Laws of Honoris Causa 2012 by European University which is one of the World’s Best Business Schools for his unique and valuable contribution to Global Governance and social responsibility. The fact that he was bestowed upon by a double doctorate the same year by two of world’s best educational institutions is proof to the fact that the people around the world are standing up in ovation for his efforts to the society and financial industry.
The job of being a CEO of one of the biggest commercial bank in Qatar keeps him busy; It also keeps him on-the-move to clinch business deals throughout the world.  He had spent more than a decade in Qatar. Qatar has enabled him to pursue both his professional and personal life in a balanced manner. Apart from work he spent time on social gatherings and cultural programmes. He look for ways to promote Indian culture and heritage and also make effort to understand new cultures. He is a global Indian who respects various cultures and lives with them in harmony. A meeting with a top-client from GCC in the morning in Qatar, a seminar on risk-management in the afternoon at New York and a dinner conference with bankers in Moscow in the night can be his normal schedule for a day!!!
Dr.R.Seetharaman is a much sought after economist and financial expert in GCC.  He is regularly approached by CNBC, BBC World, Reuters, Forbes, Fox Business, Sky News, Dow Jones, Bloomberg etc. and host of regional media channels for sharing his views and for seeking his expert opinion on varied topics in the fields of Economics, Banking and issues related to Environment.
He strongly believes in ‘knowledge sharing ‘and encourages people to develop an active mind.  He is a renowned Quiz Master in State of Qatar and has successfully conducted a number of business quizzes, sports quizzes and green quizzes.
Apart from Banking, he is passionately interested in environmental issues. Currently, he is actively engaged in creating awareness to the global corporate community on global warming and climate change - causes, effects and measures. Green economies and sustainable development are some of the areas which he has tried to focus for the benefit of society through Doha Bank. He also work on knowledge sharing actively on the above dimensions for the benefit of society. He has conducted environmental seminars across the GCC and the rest of the world.
Under his guidance, Doha Bank has become synonymous with Green initiatives, by launching multi-frontal range of activities – First Eco-Friendly Card in GCC, ECO-Schools (www.ecoschools.com.qa), Tree Planting Initiatives , Beach Clean-up / Adopt-a-Beach campaign, Recycling and Waste Management programmes, reduction of carbon footprint, first 'Doha Green Conference' in Qatar,  a dedicated Green Bank website (www.dohagreenbank.com), Planet-Savers Club, commitment to Carbon neutrality, Paperless Banking, Donation Campaigns through ATMs, Green Quiz  - and is considered the model for Corporate Social Responsibilites, as the global awards conferred on it shows.
And if you thought he was a man of all work, you are mistaken. During school he was a great stage artiste and used to even support his family with his artistic abilities. He remembers how he won the first mixer-grinder for his house winning a drama competition. In the recent function for the Qatar Tamil Sangham at Qatar he had the crowd exhilarated as he enacted Nadikar Thilakam Sivaji Ganesan on stage leaving stalwarts like Gangaiamaran and Actor Sathyaraj awestruck.
Dr.R.Seetharaman is a simple person and shows respect for every one without fail.  Achievements, accolades and awards do not inflate his ego.  The strong moral and ethical foundation for the personal character of Seetharaman, son of a Sanskrit Scholar, becomes evident when he humbly attributes all his personal successes to the guidance and blessings of “Mata, Pitha, Guru, Daivam” (Mother, Father, Teacher and God) .  He mentions that God always creates a universe within us and for me that universe is my parents. “Especially, I owe a lot to my mother, Mrs.Durgambal Raghava Sharma” says Seetharaman, acknowledging her valuable support in enabling him to reach his current prominent position in his career.
Dr.R.Seetharaman believe sustainable success is based on discipline, hard work and commitment. Hence younger generation should follow this.Skill development is necessary in to grow up in various walks of life. Apart from studies we should develop ourselves in extra-curricular activities in the areas of quiz, debates, music, fine arts and theatre. These help us mould our personality and also help us to network with people better. Younger generation should develop the skills to grow up in life. And last but not the least. We should develop a “Never say die attitude.” to face challenges in life and to manage adverse circumstances. When the going gets tough the tough gets going.
It is said that there is a woman behind every successful man.  “In my case, there are two women – my mother and my wife, Sangeeta”, declares Dr.R.Seetharaman.   The happy couple have two daughters – Shweta and Shruti.
It must be a matter of pride for Indians in general and Tamilians in particular that a bud from Mayiladuthiruai has blossomed in the desert State of Qatar and dazzling all.   Having reached the pinnacle of Banking at an young age of 50, Dr.R.Seetharaman is sure to continue to scale greater heights in the years ahead.  But more importantly, Dr.R.Seetharaman has become a role-model for a number of aspiring youths .As he quoted during his acceptance speech at Washington College “If my life can be an example to liberate young minds from bondage of their illusionary backwardness and weaknesses, in that lies the self- realization of a human being. I have a long way to go forward”.


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