Kundapur Vaman Kamath or K.V. Kamath, the first president of $100-billion New Development Bank proposed by the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) nations, is credited with ushering of private sector banking in India.
Born on 2 December, 1947, Kamath spent most part of his early life in Mangalore, Karnataka. He studied mechanical engineering at National Institute of Technology in Surathkal, Karnataka before pursuing a post graduate diploma in management at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
The 67-old Kamath started his career with the erstwhile Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) in the project finance division and gradually gained managerial experience by working across various departments such as leasing, venture capital and credit ratings.
During his early years at ICICI, Kamath was responsible for implementing computerisation programme in the organisation.
"We were the first organisation in the country to put Oracle into place," Kamath told rediff.com.
However, in 1998 the veteran banker moved to Asian Development Bank in Manila to work in its private sector department. He was involved in the bank's projects in China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh and Vietnam.
Kamath returned to ICICI as its managing director and CEO in 1996. He played a significant role in turning it into ICICI Bank through a series of acquisitions of non-banking finance companies during 1996–98.
"ICICI had a problem of atrophy and we had to break out of it if we were to survive. In 1996-1997, we had this wonderful situation where youngsters would come and atrophy within a year," he said.
Kamath is recognised for rolling out ATM cards on a large-scale and introducing online banking. He was conferred with the "Most e-savvy CEO amongst Asian Banks" by the Asian Banker Journal of Singapore, The Times of India reports.
He was also responsible for public listing of ICICI Bank in 1998, which later emerged as the first Indian financial services firm to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2000.
After retiring as CEO of ICICI Bank on 30 April, 2009, Kamath got appointed as the chairman of India's second largest IT firm Infosys replacing its founder NR Narayana Murthy in August 2011. He is currently the non-executive chairman of Infosys Board after stepping down from the chairmanship.
"He (Kamath) is a great CEO. When I was on the board of ICICI, he made a presentation on his strategy to transform a development financing institution to a universal bank in five years and achieved it on time. This is a rare feat in India," Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy told The Economic Times.