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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Kamath named businessman of the year

The CEO of India's ICICI Bank, KV Kamath, has been named Businessman of the Year for 2007 by Forbes Asia, for his steadiness at steering ICICI into one of Asia's top banks.

Under Kamath's watch since 1996, ICICI's market capitalisation has risen to $31 billion on Thursday, placing it among the region's top 10 banks. "By this measure, it is bigger than Singapore's DBS Group and Korea's Kookmin Bank, and has attracted big stakeholders such as Singapore's Temasek Holdings and CLSA and Merrill Lynch funds," a press release issued by Forbes said.

Sixty-year old Kamath's win puts him in the company of fellow countrymen Nandan Nilekani of Infosys Technologies, last year's winner, and Ratan Tata, the 2004 businessman of the year.

His addition means three Indian executives have won the accolade in the last four years. Tim Ferguson, Editor, Forbes Asia, said: "Kamath's leadership has been outstanding. His focus on serving India's growing middle class by providing First World banking service at affordable prices is largely the reason behind the phenomenal growth of ICICI."

The bank's assets have grown 40% annually in the last three years to $93 billion, propelled by a boom in Indian consumer credit where ICICI has a dominant one-third market share.

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