Vikram Akula, founder, CEO, SKS Microfinance, named Time''s Top 100 ''Most Influential People''

Hyderabad: Recognised for his vision and leadership as the founder and CEO of SKS Microfinance, among the world's fastest growing microfinance institutions, Vikram Akula has been named by Time magazine Asia as one of "The People Who Shape Our World" for 2006.

Akula heads the category 'Builders & Titans' captioned, "Innovation, grand plans, style and substance — that's what it takes to be influential in the world of business."

Akula and Nandan Nilekani, Infosys founder and president, also in the same category, are the two Indians to make it to the list.

The annual list celebrates the lives and ideas of the world's most influential people was released today and includes global leaders such as Bill Clinton, Bill and Melinda Gates and George W Bush.

Akula has been included for his work as a pioneer in the microfinance industry and dedication to improving the lives of the poor. He founded SKS in 1998 Microfinance, today one of the fastest growing microfinance organizations in the world with loan disbursals of over $52 million (Rs240 crore) to 221,000 women in poor regions of India.

"We are pleased to see SKS recognized for its microfinance work. We are confident that the government can collaborate with groups like SKS to provide the poor throughout the state timely and low cost credit at terms and conditions that are fair and transparent," said K Raju, principal secretary, rural development, government of Andhra Pradesh.

"It is a well-deserved honor for SKS. They have shown tremendous leadership by ensuring sensitivity and responsiveness to clients and in setting high standards for transparency, said C S Reddy, CEO of APMAS.