KV Kamath, non-executive chairman of ICICI, is now BRICS Bank head

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 11, 2015 17:47 IST

Pioneering banker KV Kamath was appointed on Monday as the head of the New Development Bank, also called BRICS Bank, a multilateral institution set up by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The bank’s launch, along with the setting up of a $100 billion crisis fund to contain currency volatility, is seen as counterweights to the US and Europe dominated financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank.

"Kamath has been appointed as the head of the BRICS Bank, the appointment will become effective when he becomes free from his current assignments," finance secretary Rajiv Mehrishi told reporters in New Delhi.

The bank will begin with a $50 billion paid up capital contributed equally by its five founding member countries, with an initial total of $10 billion in cash put over seven years and $40 billion in guarantees.

Another $50 billion is expected to come from other members who join in.

In July last year, the BRICS nations agreed to set up the bank primarily to fund unmet infrastructure projects. It would be headquartered in Shanghai.

Kamath, 67, would serve first five-year term as the bank’s head, followed by a Brazilian and then a Russian.

He currently serves as the non-executive chairman of India’s largest private sector bank ICICI Bank and software services major Infosys.

Kamath started his career in 1971 at ICICI, an Indian financial institution that founded ICICI Bank and merged with it in 2002. He has a degree in mechanical engineering and did his management studies at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

In 1988, he moved to the Asian Development Bank and spent several years in South-East Asia before returning to ICICI as its managing director and CEO in 1996.

Kamath, a former president of industry lobby group Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), played a major role in transforming ICICI from primarily an industrial lender into a diversified, technology-driven financial services group that has leadership positions across banking, insurance and asset management in India with an international presence.

He retired as ICICI’s managing director and CEO in April 2009, and took up his present position as non-executive chairman. Kamath also oversaw the leadership transition in Infosys after the founders stepped aside a few years ago.

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