He has led India’s largest private sector bank. Now he will lead one of the world’s largest IT services company.
KV Kamath is not an unfamiliar name in India’s corporate sector.
However, he is from the banking background, having joined ICICI soon after passing out of India’s premier management institute, India Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad.
He rose through the ranks for ICICI before leaving the financial institution to take up international stints in South Asia with Asian Development Bank. He soon returned to India to head ICICI Bank, a private bank set up by his former employer, ICICI.
While his spent over four decades of his career in the financial services industry, he is no stranger to either IT industry or Infosys. Currently, he serves as Infosys’ independent director. In that sense, he is the first ‘outsider’ to head Infosys, whose co-founder Narayana Murthy has so far remained the face of the company.
Murthy is quick to clarify that Kamath is no outsider. “(Kamath) is, in my opinion, one of the finest corporate leaders of modern India,” says Murthy.
Though Kamath, 64, has no executive experience in the IT industry, he has led ICICI Bank to unprecedented growth for 13 years (till 2009), making it India’s second-largest bank, where he continues to be a non-executive chairman. Kamath received one of the country’s highest civilian awards, the Padma Bhushan in 2008.
The Board of Directors unanimously invited Mr. N R Narayana Murthy to be the Chairman Emeritus effective August 21, 2011. This is in recognition of his founding the company, mentoring his co-founders, and nurturing the organization over the last thirty years.
Kamath takes over from Murthy on 20 August when the latter celebrates his 65th birthday. Murthy will continue to guide the Board as Chairman Emeritus.
Infoysys also named S. Gopalakrishnan the co-chairman, and S. D. Shibulal the chief executive officer and managing director.
The Board made these appointments based on the recommendations of the Nominations Committee, headed by Prof. Jeffrey S. Lehman. “This is a great moment for Infosys. We could not be in better hands,” says Lehman.
Murthy agrees. I am thankful to the Nominations Committee for doing an admirable job of succession planning and continuing the Infosys tradition of a sound succession strategy.
“I am glad they have found a perfect team to strengthen customer, investor and employee connect on the one-hand, and world-class board governance on the other hand. Vaman, Kris and Shibu will make an ideal team.”