Uday Kotak, the founder-promoter of Kotak Mahindra Bank and India’s richest banker, recently announced his resignation as the bank’s managing director and chief executive officer. This decision marks the end of an illustrious career spanning four decades in the financial services sector.
Kotak, who was originally set to retire in December, left his executive role three months ahead of schedule for personal reasons. His departure aligns with the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) regulations, which cap the tenure of managing directors and chief executive officers at 15 years in private sector banks. These regulations were revised in the aftermath of the Yes Bank debacle.
So, who is Uday Kotak?
1) Kotak will continue to serve as a non-executive director on the bank’s board. His journey into the finance sector began after a cricketing dream was cut short by an injury. In the 1970s, he aspired to be a cricketer and even trained under the legendary coach Ramakant Achrekar.
2) Born and raised in Mumbai, Kotak pursued his education at Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies and Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics. Despite his family’s involvement in trading cotton and other agricultural commodities, Kotak was not keen on joining the family business.
3) It was Kotak’s father who encouraged him to establish his own business, offering him a modest 300 square feet of office space in the Navsari Building premises. At the age of 23 in 1982, Kotak embarked on his financial consultancy journey.
4) Kotak’s financial institution received a banking license in 2003, and he served as its MD and CEO for over 20 years, starting in March 2003. He currently owns 26 percent of the bank, which boasts a valuation of over ₹3.5 lakh crore as of the latest market close.
5) Known for his outspokenness, Kotak was a rare voice in the banking sector who publicly expressed his concerns. He openly criticized the effects of demonetization and made disparaging remarks about the US Dollar, although the latter statement was later withdrawn.
Uday Kotak’s journey from aspiring cricketer to India’s richest banker has been marked by determination, innovation, and a willingness to voice his opinions on important economic matters. His legacy in the financial services sector will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact.