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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted approval for the appointment of Ashok Vaswani, an external candidate, as the incoming Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Kotak Mahindra Bank. In an official disclosure, Kotak Mahindra Bank, with a current market capitalization of approximately INR 3.52 lakh crore, announced that Vaswani’s tenure will span three years commencing from a date no later than January 1, 2024. His appointment remains contingent on the endorsement of the bank’s shareholders.

Ashok Vaswani, an accomplished international banker, previously held the position of Chief Executive Officer at Barclays Bank, UK. Subsequently, he served as the CEO of their global consumer, private, corporate, and payments divisions, and was a member of the group executive committee. Earlier in his career, Vaswani served as the CEO of Citigroup Asia Pacific and was a member of Citigroup’s global operating and management committees. He also has a track record of establishing and managing diverse country and regional business operations across various geographical regions.

Presently, Ashok Vaswani holds the position of President at Pagaya Technologies Ltd, a US-Israeli AI Fintech company. He also sits on the board of the London Stock Exchange Group and the SP Jain Institute of Global Management, UK, and extends his support to several philanthropic organizations, including Pratham and Lend-A-Hand.

Uday Kotak, the founder and director of Kotak Mahindra Bank, expressed his enthusiasm for the RBI’s approval, stating, “I am delighted that the RBI has approved our recommendation of Ashok Vaswani as the next MD & CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank. Ashok is a world-class leader and banker with a digital and customer-centric focus. I am proud that we are welcoming a ‘Global Indian’ to lead Kotak and shape the future of India.”

Notably, Uday Kotak had stepped down as the bank’s Managing Director and CEO a full four months ahead of his scheduled retirement on December 31, with his departure taking effect on September 1. Subsequently, the bank submitted two names, with K.V.S. Manian and Shanti Ekambaram being the primary contenders to succeed Kotak in the top role.

Ashok Vaswani, expressing his gratitude, said, “I thank the board for entrusting me with the responsibility of leading Kotak Mahindra Bank into its next phase of growth. I am excited and honored to carry forward the legacy built by Uday, who has established this world-class institution. With our proven leadership team, we are committed to taking the bank to new heights and ensuring that Kotak Mahindra Bank plays a significant role in India’s journey to becoming one of the top three economies globally within the next five years, all while delivering value to our shareholders. On a personal note, I am thrilled to return home.”

Upon taking the helm, Ashok Vaswani will face significant challenges, including adapting to Kotak Mahindra Bank’s corporate culture, sustaining its growth trajectory in a competitive landscape that includes both private sector and public sector rivals, and maintaining his independence while having Uday Kotak as a non-executive director on the bank’s board. Uday Kotak had previously led the bank for two decades, serving as its CEO from 2022 to 2023.

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