Uday Kotak: a visionary leader
While Uday Kotak’s rise to the top of Indian banking is hardly a rags-to-riches story, it is still a remarkable tale.
From a young age he has been exposed to commercial activity as his father, Suresh, ran a very successful commodity-trading business. And even though he is now in his seventies Suresh continues to chair the company.
As a youngster, Uday decided against joining the family firm and instead started his career buying and selling commercial paper. In 1985 he founded Kotak Capital Management Finance. The firm initially focused on trade finance. "We started in trade finance because it was an imperfect business," he says. "You had a situation where banks used to take deposits at 6% and lend money at 16.5%. So it just required a little bit of common sense to arbitrage in the middle. You have a business and you build on that."
The company then expanded into auto finance before moving step by step into such areas as investment banking, stockbroking and asset management as the Indian financial services industry liberalized.