Mr. Mahesh Yagnaraman joined Acumen as the India Country Director in January 2018. He has been an entrepreneur, CEO and strategic professional with over thirty years of experience spanning varied roles and functions across continents. Mahesh’s experience of how a product could change the lives of the poor translated to a deep commitment to the social impact sector. He has followed the development of the sector closely, been an advisor to various social entrepreneurs and firms.
Prior to joining Acumen, Mahesh co-founded First Energy Private, Ltd., an alternative energy business and led its transition from a division in MNC to an independent company. Mahesh built and ran the biomass cook-stoves and fuel pellets business from Project Stage in BP, initially serving underserved rural consumers. When BP decided to exit the business, Mahesh brought together a set of partners, took over the company, transformed the business model and succeeded in building one of the most successful alternative energy companies in India, specializing in commercial biomass cooking solutions. First Energy was acquired by Thermax Ltd in 2017 for its pioneering efforts in distributed B2B renewable energy business. Mahesh transitioned the business to Thermax and continues to serve on its Board.
Prior to founding First Energy, Mahesh spent six years with BP as Head of Strategy for Asia and the Middle East as well as Director of Global Trends based out of London. Mahesh has also worked in Marketing in BP, Castrol India and in multiple roles across functions and continents in Unilever.
Mahesh has a degree in Economics from Delhi University and an MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur. For his entrepreneurship and work, Mahesh was conferred the honor of Distinguished Alumnus by XLRI in 2015.