Hemendra Kothari, the doyen of the Indian investment banking industry, has decided to retire as executive Chairman of DSP Merrill Lynch at the end of this month after being at the helm for 25 long years. Kothari also sold his remaining 10 per cent stake in DSPMP to Merrill Lynch & Co for an undisclosed sum. In 2005, Merrill Lynch had paid $500 million for a 40 per cent it had purchased from Kothari to raise its stake to 90 per cent.
Merrill Lynch, a subsidiary of Bank of America (BofA) now owns 100 per cent of DSP Merrill Lynch and is expected to drop the prefix DSP from the name. Kothari would, however, continue as non-executive chairman of DSP Merrill Lynch. The new CEO for DSP Merrill Lynch would be named in due course.
BofA also simultaneously announced appointment of Kevan Watts as country head for the BofA-DSP Merrill Lynch combine and redesignated Vishwavir Ahuja, Country Head at BofA in India, as Head of Corporate Banking in India.
Kothari's career in the investment banking and brokerage businesses spans 40 years and had forayed into investment banking with the launch of DSP Financial Consultants Ltd in 1975. He now plans to completely dedicate himself to philanthrophy working in the fields of health, education and climate change.
"It is time for me to go when people want me. My dream was to create a professional organisation. I have achieved it," Kothari told Hindustan Times. Kothari is credited with the successful maiden debt raising by an Indian company from the overseas market in 1985. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) had then then raised $150 million of debt.