Life's Always Been Work - Kalpana Morparia

     Print Edition: Oct 14, 2012

The big turning point in my career was when I joined ICICI Ltd in 1975. That led to the complete transformation of an individual who, until then, had no purpose to life and had to be pushed through school and even college, be it my graduation or my training in law. The ICICI job put me on the path to a corporate career.

I started as a lawyer at ICICI, which then carried its full name, the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India. We used to undertake corporate financing, from grassroots' level projects to expansion and diversification. After four to five years, my role was extended to cover funding for ICICI in domestic and international markets.

Another important turning point came in the mid-1990s when K.V. Kamath took over as CEO and Managing Director of ICICI. Kamath was responsible for promoting me from a corporate lawyer to a corporate leader. The post-1990 liberalisation period was one of the most exciting periods for ICICI in particular and the financial services sector in general. Kamath asked me to head the treasury department, where I was involved in resource mobilisation. We also had to become customer-focused and look for innovative ways of financing.

A hallmark was the listing of ICICI on the New York Stock Exchange in 1999. We were the first financial company from Asia - barring Japan - to list there. After ICICI, ICICI Bank too listed on the NYSE in 2000. Then there was ICICI's reverse merger with ICICI Bank in 2002. I also remember Dabhol Power's restructuring in 2004/05, which was another high point of my career. I was truly blessed to have been given the opportunity of spending more than three decades in the ICICI Group, because the story of ICICI is interwoven with the story of India's financial sector liberalisation. Being an integral part of the ICICI team gave me a great opportunity to play a small part in the financial sector's evolution in India.

The third transformational event occurred in September 2008, when everyone including myself thought that after 33 years in the financial services sector I would hang up my boots and live a semi-retired life as an advisor. Out of the blue, I received this offer from JPMorgan. This was again one of the great turns of fate that I joined a great organisation like JPMorgan. Despite all the negative clouds you see today in the country, I believe in the great growth story of India. JPMorgan is extremely focused on serving its clients in India.

My life is all about the time I spent at work. I strongly believe that if you really want something to happen, you can make it happen. I have spent 38 years working in two large, muchrespected organisations. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. I do not care for all this debate about work-life balance because, for me, life has always been work! I am a great believer in gender equality. One of my greatest joys has been the wonderful people I have interacted with, some of whom I have mentored in my professional life.

As told to Anand Adhikari


KNOW YOUR LEADERS
Meher Pudumjee 


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