A Sakthivel has been elected vice chairman of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) for 2018-19. Earlier, he was chairman in 1998, 2004 and 2012. He has steered projects like the Knitwear Technology Mission, the Sector Skill Council for Apparel, a national social compliance project for the apparel sector and several other initiatives for holistic development of the sector.
He is the founder president of the Tirupur Exporters’ Association (TEA). For his role in placing Tirupur on the world map as the main cluster for sourcing knitwear supplies from India, and his contribution to the apparel industry, he was awarded the Padma Shri in 2009. A guide and mentor to the Tirupur knitwear Industry, Sakthivel steered growth of exports from Tirupur from a mere Rs 15 crores in 1984-85 to more than Rs 27,000 crores in 2016-17.
He has also served as president of the Federation of Indian Exports Organisations (FIEO) and currently holds the position of FIEO chairman for the southern region. He is the first chairman of the Sector Skill Council for Apparel, Made-ups and Handlooms, which has the mandate to develop skills repository standards, evaluation criteria, and an accreditation system for creating employability in the apparel sector.