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Is Jay Kotak ready to fill big shoes of his banker father?

Jay Kotak, the son of Uday Kotak, Vice-Chairman of Kotak Mahindra Bank, is in news as he is tipped to take over the reins of Kotak Bank once his father’s term comes to an end in Dec 2023

Is Jay Kotak ready to fill big shoes of his banker father?
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While selecting the new boss of Kotak Bank, the bank’s board single most important responsibility is to select the best. The risk of selecting an underprepared or inadequate leader can impact the bank’s strategic direction, reputation and ultimately, its viability. There are many critical banking industry skills needed in a leader today. Is Jay Kotak fully ready to fill the big shoes of his respected banker father? That only time will tell

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Jay Kotak was hardly known in either banking or business world till couple of days ago. And now everyone who is associated with the banking sector is talking about suave young banker. Who is he? Why he is in news currently? Well, Jay Kotak, the son of Uday Kotak, Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive of Kotak Mahindra Bank, is in news as he is tipped to take over the reins of Kotak Bank once his father's terms comes to an end in December 2023.

Jay was recently introduced by his illustrious father during an investor meeting in Mumbai. Jay is currently Co-head of the of the bank's digital-only platform, 811, which accounts for close to 30 per cent of the bank's savings account sourced during Q4FY22.

Experts are closely watching the succession planning in Kotak Bank. Earlier this month, Uday Kotak had said he would be with the bank at least till his term ends. "Right now, my tenure is till December 2023 and you are going to see me at least till then," adding, "Our board members are fully aware of their responsibilities and they will act in a manner which is appropriate and responsible."

In his Linkedin profile, Jay writes, "I have an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in History from Columbia University. My experience includes a consulting stint at McKinsey, investment research at an equity fund and an investment banking internship at Goldman Sachs in New York. I am passionate about digital and retail banking, sports media and macroeconomics." That he was also a student of history makes him in the league of with Shaktikanta Das, the Reserve Bank of India Governor. Das did his BA and MA in History from University of Delhi before joining Indian Civil Service. And now in his avtaar, he is doing well as a banker.

Meanwhile, Jay is carrying forward the family legacy in more ways than one way. Like his father, Jay is a cricket buff and he was fond of Shane Warne and Imran Khan. A Harvard Business School graduate, Kotak junior isn't afraid to let down his hair every once in a while and sport a man bun to experiment with his looks.

In Harvard University, Jay had the company of Aarti, the daughter of disgraced ICICI Bank's MD & CEO Chanda Kochhar and Adwaita Nayar, daughter of Falguni Nayar, the richest woman in India.

Jay, who loves to deal in numbers, is a proud Gujarati. His family was originally into cotton trading. The role models of Jay are his parents- father Uday Kotak and mother Pallavi Kotak. Pallavi Kotak could be regarded as the main driving force behind Uday's success as she supported him to begin his own business rather than joining any MNC with a lucrative pay scale. Apart from Jay, the Kotak couple has one daughter.

Well, Jay has grown up listening to the success stories of his father and as to how he built Kotak Bank. After completing his studies in Mumbai, Uday Kotak decided to try his hands at business. While doing his MBA, Uday established a small financial agency and provided money to Nelco, a Tata Subsidiary with a lower rate of interest than that of the banks. After getting huge success and fame thanks to this venture, Uday decided to establish something big. His initiatives took the shape of Kotak Mahindra Finance Limited in the year of 1986. He was well- supported by Anand Mahindra, the legendary Indian Industrialist. Uday Kotak took over fifty percent of the stakes of the company. The remaining part of the investment came from Anand Mahindra. Therefore the company was named as Kotak Mahindra. In 2003, Uday Kotak received the license for the business of banking and transmitted the private limited company to Kotak Mahindra bank. So, Jay Kotak would know that it his father who built the Kotak Bank.

While it is almost certain that Jay Kotak would be the top boss of Kotak Bank sooner or later, he has to remember that he would take up Kotak bank to another level only if handle the demands and high pressures that CEOs are likely to deal.

Veteran bankers say that career in banking is lucrative and rewarding, but also stressful and demanding, requiring a basket of skills both tangible and intangible. An intellect with a great understanding and interest in math and economics is crucial, as is intellectual curiosity.

Currently, Kotak Bank offers banking products and financial services for corporate and retail customers in the areas of personal finance, investment banking, life insurance, and wealth management. It is India's third largest private sector bank by assets and by market capitalisation as of November 2021. As of February 2021, the bank has 1600 branches and 2519 ATMs.

In 2015, Kotak Bank acquired ING Vysya Bank. With the merger completed, Kotak Mahindra Bank had almost 40,000 employees, and the number of branches reached 1,261. So, it is clearly a very big bank.

While selecting the new boss of Kotak Bank, the bank's board single most important responsibility is to select the best. The risk of selecting an underprepared or inadequate leader can impact the bank's strategic direction, reputation and ultimately, its viability. There are many critical banking industry skills needed in a leader today. Is Jay Kotak fully ready to fill the big shoes of his much respected banker father? That only time will tell.

(The author is Delhi-based senior journalist and writer. He is author of Gandhi's Delhi which has brought to the forth many hidden facts about Mahatma Gandhi)

Vivek Shukla
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