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Serge Devieux, Director, South Asia, International Finance Corporation

November 10, 2014
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Serge Devieux, regional director, South Asia, International Finance Corporation (IFC), feels privileged to be working on the organisation’s mission of “creating opportunities and touching the lives of people”. The responsibility is humbling, given the huge scale and complexity of issues like poverty, lack of physical and social infrastructure, scarcity of drinking water, electricity, health care, sanitation, housing, etc.

Devieux says, “To meet India’s large infrastructure gaps, adequate funds are a necessity. The real challenge is the structuring of bankable projects with acceptable risk and return profiles. This will help attract investors to finance essential infrastructure projects efficiently. We are encouaged to see the government giving this sector top priority.”

The right policy framework will give confidence to domestic and international investors and help deliver cost-effective services to end-users. A third of IFC’s portfolio is in infrastructure projects in India. In the telecom sector, IFC has made investments in Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular, and recently in Tikona Digital Networks. He adds, “IFC is looking to further grow its infrastructure portfolio through more impactful interventions.”

After three decades of work experience, Devieux see himself as an “enabler” who gets the best out of people. “I tend to see the glass half full and believe that we can fill it up completely. I am result oriented and would rather focus on the end-goal rather than the process, but I can forget the political aspects of things,” he says.

He says his management style is about “delegating and empowering” the workforce. “I believe in partnerships, not hierarchies. I confront crises by looking at the worst case and its consequences. Once I figure out the downside, I can take action to mitigate the negative impacts. From there onwards, it is only the upside.”

Devieux likes listening to modern music and reading contemporary non-fiction. His perfect holiday is a return to a place he has lived in earlier, as a way of revisiting old friends and acquaintances.

Devieux studied engineering at the University of Puerto Rico and gained an advanced engineering degree at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Later, he completed his MBA from Wharton.

“I enjoy connecting with people. This is what drives me. This is what I want to be remembered for long after I end my mission in India,” he concludes.

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