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SPARK OF THE CORPORATE

If one’s company associations and other affiliations, and the awards and recognitions one has won are testimony to one’s success and the impact one can have on a society and its bearings, then Keki Minoo Mistry, the Vice Chairman and CEO of HDFC Ltd., will beat just about anybody to it.

The financial expert, as I’d like to refer to him as, and not the chartered accountant as he was trained to be, in his three more than three decades long career at HDFC, has not only won awards – easily more than ten of them, and his services on the boards of a multitude of both the famous and lesser known companies, but has also steered the company in the great direction and continued growth path that it is under the company chairman, the visionary Deepak Parekh (also a chartered accountant by academic credentials).

Overseeing the day-to-day activities as its CEO and devising the growth and sustainability strategies in an increasingly competitive market have been the key contributions of Keki Mistry for HDFC. It is from stalwarts such as these (Parekh and Mistry) that the company draws strength and is on the path of sustained growth.

Early Life & Education

Mistry was born on 07 November, 1954 in the port city of Mumbai, India. He did his schooling from the Campion School there and went to earn a bachelors degree in commerce from Mumbai University. He topped it up as a Chartered Accountant from Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

After graduating in 1975, Mistry joined AF Ferguson & Co, a renowned Chartered Accountancy Firm, to hone his financial and accounting skills further and to get a greater hold of things in his life. This was followed by a short stint at Hindustan Unilever Ltd., (Hindustan Lever Ltd., back then), and by yet another short one as accounts officer at the India Hotels Company Limited – one of the Tata Group flag-ship companies, under which the Taj Hotels function.

The beginning at HDFC

The six-year period was a fruitful lot for the enterprising financial expert as they provided him with first hand exposure to the then up and coming world of finance in independent India. These experiences were to hold him in good stead when he would join and, subsequently, be elevated as the head of the premier financial institution of the country. He joined the Housing Development and Finance Corporation (HDFC) Limited, in 1981 as an Assistant Manager in the finance team. The difficult decision to join HDFC, the then fledgling company, ignoring an offer from a global giant like Citibank, was made easy by the fact that he wanted to stay with his mother.

 

Working up the ladder

 When he joined HDFC, the wizard, as Mistry was to prove in later years even in leadership roles, realized that here was an opportunity to, as they say, grow as the companies grows. Accordingly, he almost always put his best foot forward as sensed the need for an emerging country that was trying to break the shackles of colonial rule and get well and truly on the course of development, for housing finance. If the country was to inch towards the aspirations of a growth nation, then its housing had to be one of the fundamental areas of development. Thus, it was that as HDFC started spread its wings, Mistry fortunes and hard-work – of all the things, started to pay off.

The growth trajectory of Keki Mistry at HDFC resembles the trace of a high-speed unmanned rocket – just up, up, and upwards.

Here is how he grew in a company that has become synonymous, in some way, with whatever little development the country has seen in the last three decades or so.

He was inducted into the HDFC Board of Directors, an Executive Director, in the year 1993.

Made Deputy Managing Director in 1999.

Elevated to the post of Managing Director of the company in November 2000.

Appointed as CFO in 2005 – or thereabouts

Appointed as Vice Chairman & Managing Director of HDFC Ltd in October 2007.

And finally, was made the Vice Chairman & CEO in January 2010.

He is one of the very few CFOs of a huge conglomerate such as HDFC, to have won the BEST CFO award multiple times – proving each time why he is the best in business and, precisely why HDFC is where it is today.

The impact

While most people may talk about the senior stalwart, no one can miss the fact that Mistry was Instrumental in setting up HDFC group companies, including HDFC Bank, and helped the company beat the economic downturn that threatened to eat away countries altogether.

Family

Keki Mistry is married to Arnaaz, and the couple have daughter Tinaz. The family lives in Mumbai (India).

Awards & Recognition:

It was a young organisation, a new business with high growth potential and the opportunity to learn and rise.” – Reminiscing about why he preferred HDFC over Citibank way back in 1981
The focus on infrastructure will in the long-term also address structural supply side bottlenecks, which have previously caused inflationary pressures. I think it is a very balanced and growth oriented budget” – About the Union Budget (2015-16)
'Best Independent Director Award' by Asian Centre for Corporate Governance & Sustainability – 2014
The Best CEO Financial Services (Large Companies) by Business Today magazine – 2014
CFO India Hall of Fame by the CFO India magazine – 2012
One of Best CEO for Investor Relations – India at the Thomson Reuters “Extel Awards” – 2012
Best Banker of the Year by Financial Express - in 2011
The QIMPRO Gold Standard 2011– Leader for Quality in Business  award by the Qimpro Foundation – 2011
Honored with the ‘CA Business Achiever of the year’ award in the Financial Sector by the
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) - 2011
Declared as the Best CFO in the Financial Services category by the ICAI – 2008
CNBC TV18's Award for the 'Best Performing CFO in the Financial Services
Sector' for three consecutive years - 2006, 2007 & 2008
CNBC TV18's Award as CFO of the Year for 2008
Selected as the 'Best Investor Relations Officer' in the Corporate Governance poll by Asiamoney - 2008

Other affiliations:

Serves on the Board of HCL Technologies, Shrenuj & Co. Ltd, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Torrent Power Ltd and even some unlisted companies like Greatship (India) Ltd., Griha Investments – Mauritius, Griha Investments pte ltd – Singapore a few others.
He is the Non-Executive Chairman of GRUH Finance Ltd., a subsidiary of HDFC Ltd and also on the Advisory Boards of a few Indian corporates
Director on the Board of Directors of HDFC Asset Management Company Limited
Director on the Board of Directors of HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited
Director on the Board of Directors of HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company Limited
Director on the Board of Directors of GRUH Finance Limited
Director on the Board of Directors of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited
Director on the Board of Directors of Greatship (India) Limited
Director on the Board of Directors of Torrent Power Limited, and
Director on the Board of Directors of HCL Technologies Limited
On the board of Cox & Kings
Has been a Consultant to the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) in Thailand,Mauritius, Caribbean Islands and Jamaica, guiding the company to review and evaluate the operations of mortgage financial institutions in these countries. He has also been Consultant to the Mauritius Housing Company and Asian Development Bank
Quotes
  India’s greatest undoing has been how immune its citizens have become to corruption.
  Investing in India has always needed patience and optimism. India’s fundamentals—the very reasons which attracted investors two decades ago—are still intact. Few countries have the demographic advantage and growth potential at reasonable valuations that India has. A sincere attempt at setting the house in order will go a long way in changing the course for the next generation.
  Business needs an enabling environment from government. But the relationship between government and business has fallen to a new low. This needs fixing.
  Not everything in India needs to be painted with the brush of doom. There are a number of sectors that have performed well despite varying economic cycles. Sectors like FMCG, IT/BPO, pharmaceuticals and retail finance have remained resilient despite the economic downturn.” – Forbes India (Sep, 2014).
 McKinsey estimates that the size of India’s middle class will cross 600 million by 2025, making the country the world’s fifth largest consumer market. What characterises this middle class is its high aspirations, a ‘wanting more’ consumer mindset and its confidence and optimism about its future.” – Forbes India (Sep, 2014).
  Effective governance entails quick decision-making by putting aside vested interests. Business freedom entails an enabling environment that supports the growth of business in a fair and transparent manner with minimal government intervention

Hope viewers caught up the spark…

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