Arun M Kumar is a Managing Partner at Celesta Capital, a leading venture capital firm that invests in deep-tech and industry transformers with a particular focus on the U.S.-India corridor.
Prior to joining Celesta, Arun served as Chairman & CEO of KPMG in India for a five-year term that ended on February 6, 2022. He was a member of KPMG’s Global Board as well as KPMG’s Europe Middle East & Africa Board.
At KPMG, Arun led an organization of thousands of talented professionals constituting the second-largest firm in terms of employee strength within KPMG globally. During this period, KPMG India recorded extraordinary growth in revenues, profits, and people – along with organizational transformation. KPMG India’s clients comprise the country’s largest companies as well as global corporations and funds who operate in India. Significantly, KPMG India is engaged in many of the Government of India’s priority development programs and works with several Indian states in areas of economic development ranging from enhancing investment to supporting urbanization.
Arun previously served in President Obama’s Administration as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service. As a senior United States commercial diplomat, he headed a bureau of 1700 professionals in 78 countries and all the 50 states. He was the Administration’s lead official to promote U.S. exports and inward foreign direct investment and supported enhanced market access around the world. He was a key architect of the U.S.-India Strategic & Commercial Dialogue in 2015-16.
Prior to his nomination by President Obama, he served in KPMG LLP and was a member of the firm’s Board of Directors. Based in Silicon Valley, he led the firm’s Management Consulting practice in the West; his clients included global high technology corporations. He also founded the firm’s U.S.-India practice.
Before moving to the US, Arun was for five years with TAS (then known as the Tata Administrative Service), when he worked directly for Mr. Ratan Tata,
Arun is the author of two books of poetry, Plain Truths, published in 2010 by Current Books, and Mantram Beach, published in 2020 by the Aleph Book Company.
He is writing a book, The Changing Global Trade Paradigm, due for publication by Harper Collins in 2022. Reflecting his interest in the advancement of his home state of Kerala, Arun previously co-edited Kerala’s Economy: Crouching Tiger, Sacred Cows, published in 2007 by DC Books.
Arun is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York. He is a strategic advisor to the Board of the US India Business Council, an organization he has been associated with since 2007; he served on its Board for six years. He has formerly been a member of deans’ advisory councils at Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was an early Charter Member of TiE Silicon Valley. He currently serves on the board of Indiaspora. Arun serves as Chair of the Wadhwani Institute of Technology and Policy, New Delhi, a think tank and training institution.
Arun was born in Mavelikkara, Kerala. His parents were the late Mr. B. Madhavan Nair and Mrs. Kamala Pandalai. They lived in Trivandrum where Mr. Nair was a founding father of Prathibha Poshini, a school for underprivileged students.
After his schooling at Lawrence School, Lovedale, Arun was a National Science Talent Scholar and graduated in Physics from University College, Trivandrum of the University of Kerala. Arun went to MIT’s Sloan School of Management to earn a master’s in management in 1980.
Arun is married to Poornima, who has held leadership roles in the biotechnology/diagnostics industry. They have two sons: Ashvin and Vikram. Ashvin and his wife Melisa Shah live in Atlanta, Georgia with their children Amartya Zaran, Saira and Ishan. Vikram and his wife Monisha Batra live in Oakton, Virginia with their daughter Lylah.