Carlyle appoints former HDFC Bank CEO Aditya Puri as senior adviser
Aditya Puri | Photo Credit: Reuters

Global private equity firm Carlyle Group has appointed Aditya Puri as a senior adviser in Asia days after his retirement as chief executive officer of India’s largest private-sector lender HDFC Bank.

Puri will advise Carlyle on investment opportunities across Asia. He will also advise Carlyle’s investment professionals and portfolio management teams on building differentiated high-quality businesses, the PE firm said in a statement.

Carlyle’s Asia portfolio, excluding Japan, had assets of around $4.9 billion by the end of September, including SBI Cards, SBI Life, HDFC Limited, PNB Housing Finance, Repco Home Finance, Edelweiss and IIFL in India.

In China, the investments included KB Financial Group, China Pacific Insurance, Ant Group, Du Xiaoman Financial, and McDonald’s.

The US-based investment firm has also been expanding its presence in India’s pharmaceutical sector.

This year, it acquired a majority stake in SeQuent Scientific Ltd, which makes bulk drugs for animal healthcare, in its biggest control-oriented deal in India.

Also this year, it bought a 20% stake in billionaire Ajay Piramal’s pharmaceutical group Piramal Pharma Ltd in its biggest healthcare deal in India.

Last month, VCCircle reported that Carlyle is evaluating its interest in a Hyderabad-based bulk-drugs maker.

Puri’s career

Puri was the founding CEO of HDFC Bank since its inception in 1994 and continued to remain at the helm till his retirement on October 26 making the lender the most valuable bank in India with a market value of over $90 billion as on October 2020.

At 70, Puri retired after 26 years of service as he had reached the age limit for private-sector bank chiefs under the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rules.

Puri was recruited in the PE firm by Sunil Kaul, Carlyle’s managing director and head of financial services in Asia and a colleague at Citigroup in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Before joining HDFC Bank, Puri spent over 20 years at Citibank overseeing parts of the lender’s activities across India, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and mainland China, with his last role as CEO of operations in Malaysia from 1992-1994.

Puri is known for his consistent magic number of around 20% growth rate at HDFC Bank. Under him, the lender yielded a profit of 18% for July-September while being able to contain the gross non-performing assets (NPAs) at 1.08% as on September-end from 1.36% at the end of the previous quarter and 1.38% at the end of the September quarter a year ago.

The numbers came at a time when the banking system is struggling with NPAs at 8.5% in March 2020, which are expected to rise to 12.5% by March 2021, as per RBI.

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