Sudhakar Rao is a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officer of the 1973 batch. After initial postings at the field level in the State of Karnataka, he went on deputation to the Union Government as Under Secretary in the Ministry of Power, where he was closely associated with the work of the path breaking Rajyadhakshya Committee on Power. He was Deputy Commissioner & District Magistrate of Shimoga District during 1982 and 1983. He proceeded on deputation to the Government of India once again after completing his district assignments, and was Deputy Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance for two years and Director in the Prime Minister's Office for two years, dealing with policy matters covering social sectors.
Later he was Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Power, entrusted with the development of Hydel power in the country following which he was posted as Minister (Economic) in the Embassy of India in Washington for four years.
On his return to the State Government in 2000, he held various assignments, including Chairman & Managing Director of the Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC), Principal Secretary, Finance, Principal Secretary, Home; Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Development Commissioner and finally Chief Secretary of Karnataka from which post he retired from Government service in 2009. On retirement, he was appointed as a Member of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) from which post he resigned in 2012 to take up other professional engagements.
Sudhakar Rao Has a Masters Degree in Economics from The Delhi School of Economics and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
Sudhakar Rao is, inter-alia, also an independent director on the boards of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, CMC Ltd; L&T Infrastructure Development Projects Ltd and Binani Industries Ltd. He is the Group Advisor, Strategy & Development of the Manipal Education And Medical Group.
Sudhakar Rao was conferred the Kannada Rajyotsava Award under the public service category by the Government of Karnataka on November 1, 2010.