Ace banker Naina Lal Kidwai took a step towards global recognition on Monday with Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) — the world's fifth-largest bank by total assets — appointed her as a director on board. This brings Kidwai on a par with achievers such as Anshu Jain, Indra Nooyi and Ajay Banga — on the boards of global giants — Deutsche Bank, PepsiCo and MasterCard, respectively.
A steady rise
Appointed country head of HSBC India
Joined HSBC as deputy CEO
Vice-chairman of JM Morgan Stanley and head of Investment Bank in India
Worked with ANZ Grindlays India in various capacities
Completed her MBA from Harvard Business School
A Harvard MBA who joined HSBC India in 2002, Kidwai was appointed the country head of the bank in 2006 and is now set to join the board with effect from October 1, 2010, subject to regulatory approval from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
The move is significant from HSBC's point of view, which is looking to strengthen its position in India. The bank purchased the retail and commercial banking operations of RBS India in July, after acquiring IL&FS Investsmart in 2008.
"Naina's appointment to The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Board is a reflection of the growing importance of India in our emerging markets strategy. We recently announced our third major investment in the country in the last two years and see a range of growth opportunities in areas of strength for HSBC," said Michael Geoghegan, chairman, HSBC and group chief executive of HSBC Holdings.
With just two job switches in her 22-year long career, Kidwai ran into a controversy over her appointment on the board of Nestle while heading a foreign bank in India, citing conflict of interest. While the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) initially rejected her appointment as the country head of HSBC India in 2006, it approved the same in 2007 on conditions that Nestle will not have a relationship with HSBC and Kidwai would not receive anything more than an honorarium.