India’s largest stock exchange firm in terms of turnover, National Stock Exchange (NSE ) on Friday appointed the Managing Director of IDFC Vikram Limaye as its Managing Director & CEO. The announcement was made after the NSE board members chaired a meeting headed by former finance secretary Ashok Chawla, in Mumbai.
The appointment of Limaye, 50, currently CEO and MD of IDFC Ltd, an infrastructure financing firm, will have to be cleared by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), the people said on condition of anonymity.
Limaye has over 25 years of experience working with financial institutions, global investment banks, international commercial banks and global accounting firms. Started his professional career with accounting firm Arthur Andersen in Mumbai in 1987, Limaye has also worked for audit and business advisory services groups of Ernst & Young and Citibank. Soon after achieving a stagnant level, Limaye went to the US in 1994 to pursue his MBA.
Post his MBA, he worked on Wall Street in USA for 8 long years with Credit Suisse First Boston in a variety of roles such as investment banking, capital markets, structured finance and credit portfolio management before returning to Mumbai, India in 2004.
Limaye has also served various committees of government and industry associations covering various sectors including infrastructure, economic policy, markets, trade, minority affairs etc. He has been on boards of various government and private label organisations including CII, FICCI and BCCI, and is also a member of the Governing Council of University of Pennsylvania Institute for the Advanced Study of India. Limaye has also been invited as keynote speaker at various influential national and international conferences. He has also been part of international government delegations for infrastructure and foreign direct investments into India.
Limaye will succeed Chitra Ramkrishna, who left NSE owing to personal reasons on 2 December, a little more than a year before her tenure was to end. Following her resignation, the board of NSE appointed Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd chairman Anand Mahindra, former Reserve Bank of India deputy governor Usha Thorat, founder of Dhruva Advisors Llp Dinesh Kanabar and former Infosys Ltd director Mohandas Pai to choose Ramkrishna’s successor.
J. Ravichandran, who used to serve as group president of finance and legal and company secretary at NSE, was named the interim MD and CEO. He will serve in the position until Limaye takes charge.
Limaye, who will be the first NSE CEO from outside the founding team that set up the exchange in the 1990s, will have his hands full at the helm.
The stock exchange has filed a draft prospectus with the regulator for an initial public offering after a long battle with existing shareholders who had wanted the bourse to list earlier.
Secondly, Sebi is currently examining allegations against NSE that it gave preferential and unfair access to some brokers on its algorithmic trading platform. Sebi is also studying a forensic audit report on this issue prepared by Deloitte India.
In January, Limaye was named to a four-member committee formed by the Supreme Court to manage the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The move was part of the court’s efforts to reform the administration of cricket.
“Limaye will have to consider whether his commitments at BCCI do not pose a distraction to his work at NSE,” said J.N. Gupta, co-founder and managing director of Stakeholders Empowerment Services, a proxy advisory firm. “Considering the allegations against NSE, Limaye will have to take the team along with him to ensure that the issues are resolved and NSE’s reputation, if at all (it) suffered a dent, should be restored.”
Limaye has served as the head of IDFC for four years. A chartered accountant with a master’s degree in business administration, Limaye started his career with Arthur Andersen in Mumbai in 1987. He has worked in the audit and business advisory services groups of Arthur Andersen and EY and the consumer banking groups of Citibank and Credit Suisse.
“Vikram is down to earth and a public spirited person. In that context, he is well-suited to head NSE. His unquestionable ethics and integrity is what will bring credibility for NSE at the time when it is facing reputational crisis,” said Praveen Chakravarty, visiting senior fellow in political economy at IDFC Institute.
Chakravarty and Limaye have studied together at the Wharton School.