Indian bank boss Uday Kotak named entrepreneur of the year
The founder and managing director of Indian lender Kotak Mahindra Bank has been named EY World Entrepreneur of the Year.
Uday Kotak was selected from 60 country finalists – including Ireland's Patrick Joy of off-shore oil business Suretank – to bring home the coveted title.
Judges during the final at the weekend praised his focus on "inclusive" growth and on providing low-cost services to rural customers .
The closely-fought annual competition organised by business advisers EY is one of the most glittering business events, culminating in a glamorous awards ceremony in Monte Carlo.
Mr Kota set up Kotak Capital Management Finance in 1985 at the age of 25 – and 18 years later, it became the first non-banking finance company in Indian history to be converted into a bank.
It has grown into an international group with revenues of $2.8bn (£1.7bn), 605 branches in India and international offices in London, New York, Dubai, Abu Dhaib, Mauritius and Singapore.
Mr Kotak, who according to Forbes is Indian's richest banker and its 15th richest person, said: "I'm delighted and honoured to receive this prestigious award at such a spectacular event. It is recognition of the skills and dedication of the 25,000 employees of KMB who have worked so hard to build a world class Indian financial services brand."
Mark Weinberger, global chairman and chief executive of EY, said: "The world now needs entrepreneurs more than ever to create sustainable, permanent jobs to help secure a global economic recovery. Uday is a truly inspiring World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner for 2014 and together, he and our 59 other country winners are truly helping to build a better working world."
Mr Kotak turned down a job with Unilever in India to strike out on his own in business. Its steady growth was partly down to forging partnerships with global financial giants to leverage their brand and expertise.
Goldman Sachs became a minority partner in 1995 and 12 years later offered to buy out KMB. However, Mr Kodak turned the tables and bought out Goldman Sachs instead.