Mr. Palamadai S. Lokanathan, a national of India, served as the first ECAFE Executive Secretary from 1947 to 1956.
Mr. Lokanathan was an economist who had made a distinguished career in teaching, government service, and private enterprise, before coming to Shanghai in 1947 to head the office of the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE). Mr. Lokanathan was a member of the Senate of Madras and a member of the Academic Council of Madras University, where he was Professor of Economics. He was also a member of the Board of Studies in Economics for the Universities of Madras, Travancore, Annamali and Andhra, and Chairman of the Commerce College, Delhi University, Delhi. While he was still at Madras University, he became a member of the consultative Committee of Economists to the Government of India; he was also appointed a member of the Labour Advisory Board of the Madras Government, and he was a president of the Economic Association of India.
To a large section of the Indian public Mr. Lokanathan became known as editor of the Eastem Economist, which he joined after he worked as editor of the Hindwtani Ernes, also in New Delhi.