Reliance Industries Ltd on Friday announced the appointment of veteran banker K V Kamath as an independent director on the company board.
Kamath, 74, has been appointed for a five-year term, the firm said in a stock exchange filing.
An IIM Ahmedabad graduate, Kundapur Vaman Kamath is an accomplished Indian banker who started his career with ICICI in 1971.
In 1988, he moved to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and spent several years in South East Asia before returning to ICICI as its managing director and CEO in 1996 and post its merger into ICICI Bank, was the managing director and CEO of ICICI Bank.
“Under his leadership, the ICICI transformed itself into a diversified, technology-driven financial services group across banking, insurance and asset management in India, and a global presence. He retired as Managing Director and CEO in 2009 and continued as the Chairman of ICICI Bank till 2015,” the filing said.
Kamath, who played a crucial role in splitting the oil-to-telecom empire between brothers Mukesh and Anil after their father and legendary industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani died without leaving a will in 2002, has also been appointed as a non-executive chairman of Reliance Strategic Investments Ltd (RSIL) — the financial services arm of Reliance.
Elder brother Mukesh ended up with core oil refining and petrochemicals business while Anil got telecom, financial services and power arms.
Mukesh Ambani has in recent years made a re-entry into telecom with Jio, which is now India’s largest telecom firm by subscribers, and is looking to foray into financial services businesses as well.
“As intimated earlier, RSIL will be renamed as Jio Financial Services Ltd (JFSL) and listed pursuant to a scheme of demerger approved by the Board of Directors for demerger of the financial services business of the company into RSIL,” Reliance said in the filing.
Kamath will continue as an independent director and non-executive chairman of JFSL upon consummation of the demerger and listing of JFSL on stock exchanges.
Post his stint at ICICI, Kamath held various coveted positions, including chief of the New Development Bank of BRICS countries, chairman of Infosys, and the chairperson of the Rs 20,000 crore development finance institution, National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID).
He also served as an independent director on the boards of Houston-based oil services company Schlumberger since 2010, and the Indian pharmaceutical manufacturer Lupin. He was also a member of the Board of Governors of the Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University.
A Padma Bhushan awardee, Kamath replaces one of the two independent directors on the Reliance board who retired recently. Raghunath Anant Mashelkar and Dipak C Jain completed their term on the Reliance board recently.
The Reliance board is headed by Mukesh D Ambani and it also has his wife Nita and cousins Hital R Meswani and Nikhil R Meswani as executive directors.
Company veterans PMS Prasad and PK Kapil are the other two executive directors on the board.
Former McKinsey India head Adil Zainulbhai, former finance secretary Raminder S Gujral, former Booz & Company CEO Shumeet Banerji, former SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya and former CVC K V Chowdary are independent directors on company board.
Yasir Othman H. Al Rumayyan of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia is also on the board of Reliance.
“The Board of Directors has, at its meeting held today (Friday), based on the recommendation of the Human Resources, Nomination and Remuneration Committee considered and recommended to the shareholders for approval the appointment of K V Kamath as an independent director of the company for a term of 5 consecutive years with effect from the date of assumption of office,” Reliance said in the filing.