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Business News/ Companies / News/  Jio Fin looks to hire from other lenders for top roles
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Jio Fin looks to hire from other lenders for top roles

Jio Financial is looking to hire former ICICI Bank executive Hitesh Sethia as the chief executive of Jio Financial Services

K.V. Kamath, chairman of Jio Financial Services (Photo: Mint)Premium
K.V. Kamath, chairman of Jio Financial Services (Photo: Mint)

Jio Financial Services is scouting for talent with digital banking expertise to fill top management roles and is assembling a team of former executives from private lenders such as ICICI Bank, three people aware of the development said.

The financial services business of parent Reliance Industries Ltd will have small teams with digital capabilities instead of large groups common in banks and other non-bank financiers, the people said on condition of anonymity.

“They want tech-driven teams that have worked in fintech startups or banks. Unlike non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and banks, the new entity will have small client-focussed teams," one of the people, a hiring consultant, said, adding that senior executives who worked with banks like ICICI are being pursued.

A month after announcing the demerger of its financial services business in October, Reliance Industries named veteran banker K.V. Kamath as the chairman of Jio Financial Services. One of Kamath’s first hires at Jio Financial was Manish Singh, a former colleague from ICICI Bank, to help build a team for the youngest business under the Reliance conglomerate.

That apart, Jio Financial is also looking to hire former ICICI Bank executive Hitesh Sethia as the chief executive of Jio Financial Services, Mint reported earlier this month.

Kamath started his career at state-run ICICI Ltd, the bank’s predecessor, in 1971. In 1988, he moved to the Asian Development Bank and spent years in South-East Asia before returning to ICICI as managing director and chief executive. Following its merger with ICICI Bank, Kamath became the managing director and chief executive of ICICI Bank. After retiring as managing director in 2009, he continued to be the chairman till 2015.

An email sent to Reliance Industries remained unanswered till press time.

Industry experts praised the ICICI group for creating several leaders over the years, churning out veterans who can steer the ship at other corporations.

A recruiter who works with Reliance Industries and its units said that ICICI is akin to the “Unilever of banking", a lucrative talent pool. He said that when a new financial service comes into play, ICICI Bank is the first talent pool all dip into.

“There are two or three institutions in this country that give a well-rounded experience to employees, preparing them for leadership roles, and ICICI Bank is one of them," said Ashvin Parekh, managing partner, Ashvin Parekh Advisory Services LLP.

According to Parekh, the biggest factor differentiating ICICI staff from others is that ICICI allows people to take decisions.

“The quality of governance is really good, and there are well-prescribed policies and processes that allow employees to not just take decisions, but also make amends if they go wrong," said Parekh, adding that the sheer size of the organization also helps, given it is present in all possible businesses where a lender can operate.

Meanwhile, Kamath recently recalled that at least 100 fintechs are led by entrepreneurs who have spent some time at ICICI Bank. “I was somewhere the other day, and a few people started chatting with me and said we are all from your old institution (ICICI)…Then as we were walking out, I asked how many of you are founders from the institution I was associated with, and they said we are about 100," Kamath said at the Mint Annual Banking Conclave on 12 January.

Analysts are closely watching the impact of Jio Financial Services on other non-banks and the broader financial services sector. In a report on 21 November, Macquarie gave an inkling of the ambitions Reliance has placed on the new financial services company.

“After the demerger, Jio Financial Services could be the fifth-largest financial services company in terms of net worth," it said.

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Published: 22 Mar 2023, 11:55 PM IST
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