Has Kundapur Vaman Kamath, the 59-year-old Managing Director & CEO of ICICI Bank, taken a leaf out of the book of former GE head honcho Jack Welch? Four years before retirement, Welch had a shortlist of three high performers from which to choose his potential successor — Robert Nardelli, James McNerney and Jeffery Immelt.
Some 10 months ahead of retirement in 2001, Welch christened Immelt, the youngest of the three, as his successor.
Kamath is just 18 months away from retirement — although you can’t rule out the possibility of him opting for an extension — and, like Welch, he’s been grooming a fine bunch of young talent to take over the reins. Kamath’s shortlist, however, is proving to be pretty dynamic.
Last fortnight, even as Nachiket Mor, Deputy Managing Director who was in charge of ICICI Bank’s rural thrust, fell off that list after he announced his exit from the bank, Kamath found another contender for the top spot.
He’s pulled in Sonjoy Chatterjee from the bank’s UK operations as Executive Director at ICICI Bank’s headquarters in suburban Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla Complex. Kamath’s top deck at ICICI Bank now looks like this: Chanda Kochhar, Joint Managing Director & Chief Financial Officer, V. Vaidyanathan, Executive Director in charge of retail and rural banking and Chatterjee, who takes charge of wholesale and international banking.
After the retirement of Kalpana Morparia and Lalita Gupte, two of the pillars of ICICI Bank for many years now, Kamath is readying the second line of leadership at the group by giving them more exposure and checking their skills in every department.
Last year, Kamath moved Bhargav Dasgupta, who was deputy to Gupte in international banking, to the life insurance subsidiary, ICICI Prudential, as Executive Director. Similarly, Vishakha Mulye, Group CFO, has been sent to general insurance subsidiary ICICI Lombard as Executive Director.