Natwar M. Gandhi
Natwar M. Gandhi retired in January 2014 from his long tenured position as the District of Columbia’s independent Chief Financial Officer (CFO) where he was first appointed by Mayor Anthony Williams on June 7, 2000, re-appointed by Mayors Adrian Fenty (2007) and Vincent Gray (2012). In his CFO capacity, he was responsible for Washington, DC’s finances, including its approximately $12 billion in annual operating and capital funds.
As the independent CFO, Gandhi managed the District’s financial operations, which included more than 1,200 staff members in tax and revenue administration; the treasury, comptroller and budget offices; economic/fiscal analysis and revenue estimation functions; agency financial operations; and the DC Lottery. He worked closely with congressional committees and the US Office of Management and Budget. He also regularly interacted with the Wall Street financial community, including rating agencies, regarding the District’s financial matters. Gandhi also sat on the boards of the Washington Convention and Sports Authority and Destination DC.
During Gandhi’s tenure as CFO, the District was transformed from a deficit-plagued, junk bond rated jurisdiction with $550 million negative fund balance into a financially healthy municipality with a string of balanced budgets and a fund balance of $1.5 billion at the end of 2013. Gandhi secured multiple rating upgrades (a total of 13 rating steps since FY2000) from the major rating agencies for its general obligation bonds, which are currently rated A+ by Standard and Poor’s, AA- by Fitch Ratings and Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service. These are the highest ratings ever assigned to the District of Columbia’s general obligation bonds. In 2009, Standard & Poor’s assigned a rating of AAA to the District’s inaugural offering of income tax revenue bonds, which are rated AA+ by Fitch and Aa1 by Moody’s.
In 2007, Gandhi was named one of Governing magazine’s 2007 Public of Officials of the Year and Washingtonian magazine’s 150 most powerful public officials. He was also named one of Washingtonian’s 2006 Washingtonians of the Year and was a recipient of the Association of Government Accountants’ (AGA) 2007 Distinguished Local Government Leadership Award. His other honors include The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Meritorious Leadership Award (Inaugural Recipient) and the DC Chamber of Commerce Impact Award in 2005, as well as Achievement of the Year Awards from the AGA (National chapter in 2000 and Washington, DC, chapter in 1999). He also received the President’s Award from the Greater Washington Society of CPAs in 2000, and Distinguished Service and Meritorious Service Awards from the GAO.
In 2013 Gandhi received Life Time Achievement Awards from India Abroad and Government Finance Officers Association, DC Chapter. In 2005, the National Academy of Public Administration elected Gandhi as a fellow for his “sustained exemplary contributions and continuing active commitment to the improvement of public administration.” In 2013, Gandhi Memorial Foundation in Washington, DC recognized him with Fellowship of Peace Award for his Exemplary Gandhian Services. Gandhi is a member of the Metropolitan Club of Washington, DC. He is also a member of Board of Trustees of Shakespeare Theater Company and Honorary Board of Trustees of Arena Stage and a Board member of Gallaudet University Foundation.
Gandhi holds a doctorate in accounting from Louisiana State University, a master’s degree in business administration from Atlanta University, and an LLB and B. Com in accounting from the University of Bombay. During 2014-2026, Gandhi was Distinguished Policy Fellow at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Presently, he is a Senior Fellow at Governing Institute. He also consults with the World Bank in its efforts to create sustainable cities around the world.