Sharmla Chetty

Duke CE welcomes Sharmla Chetty as its new Chief Executive Officer effective October 5, 2021. Chetty has served as President of Global Markets, North America, Europe & UK, Asia, and Africa, at Duke CE since 2019. 

In her most recent role, Chetty drove strategic alignment for the organization globally and operations for its regional practices around the world. Prior to that, Chetty founded the Johannesburg office in 2007 and grew it into the preeminent custom executive education provider on the African continent.

“I’m incredibly grateful to our Board for the trust they’ve placed in me to lead this world-class organization as we enter a new chapter of change, challenge, and opportunity for our clients and for the world,” said Chetty. “It’s an honor to build on Michael Chavez’s legacy of transformation and expansion of digital capabilities. As a firm, we will continue to support clients and global leaders in solving their most important and complex problems, to help leaders become force multipliers for positive change in their organizations and the world.”

Dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Chairman of Duke CE’s Board Bill Boulding said, “This change in leadership has us going from strength to strength. Michael was magnificent in rising to the challenges of the past year. Duke CE is stronger, more agile and more capable through Michael’s leadership.

I am honored to welcome Sharmla Chetty in her new role as CEO. Sharmla understands the transformational power of leadership and the role of leadership in driving positive societal change. Sharmla cares about and elevates others and is passionate about making those around her successful. She is the right person at the right time, as we embark on a period with an opportunity for substantial growth.”

Chetty is a visionary driven by one purpose – transforming organizations and society through leadership. She is passionate about achieving sustainable outcomes in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). She has a proven track record of driving transformation through leadership, with deep local experience in a range of industries including financial services, healthcare, mining, energy, and manufacturing from working with clients in 80 countries.

Chetty, Duke CE’s fifth CEO in its 21-year history, will succeed Michael Chavez. Chavez will become Global Managing Director, after choosing to step down from the CEO role after five plus years. Chetty commented, “I am thankful to Michael for his exemplary leadership and thankful that he will continue to lead in his work with clients, providing the consistent excellence and thought leadership he has brought to companies around the world for 15 years at Duke CE.  I am very much looking forward to working with him to continue to increase our client impact.”   

Chavez took an intentional approach to strengthening the organization’s leadership pipeline in his tenure as CEO. He shared, “One of the specific things I was charged to do was to create a very strong senior team, oriented toward growth. Under Sharmla’s outstanding leadership, our senior team created new routines and mindsets that enabled us to thrive as we lead our business beyond the pandemic. Her success in re-energizing each of our markets, and leading client growth and impact, made this an excellent time for a leadership transition at Duke CE.”  

Vishal Patel now steps into the role of President of Global Markets at Duke CE.  Previously Global Managing Director, Patel brings a dozen years of experience in leadership at Duke CE, fueling growth in North America, Asia and Africa. Patel said, “To thrive in today’s context, leaders need to be curious and adaptive, while also being willing to take the risks needed to disrupt themselves and their organizations. I am excited to lead the market growth efforts around the world and look forward to partnering with our teams, clients and Sharmla in her new role.”

Looking ahead, Chetty shared, “Leadership is needed more than ever because the world’s organizations are facing new, emergent and complex challenges. People are now clearly looking to businesses to solve societal issues, instead of relying solely on government. We have an incredible opportunity to partner with our clients to reinvent education, coupling human-centered design and world-class educational experiences to shape leaders who can turn challenges into opportunities for a positive future.”