Leo Puri is new chief of UTI AMC

After remaining headless for over two years, the board of the country’s oldest and 5th largest mutual fund UTI, approved the appointment of Leo Puri as its managing director. Puri was tipped to be appointed last year but he faced roadblocks from certain quarters.

The top post of UTI Asset Management Company has been vacant since early 2011 when its previous boss UK Sinha moved on to become the chief of securities market regulator SEBI. Last month, the shareholders agreed to appoint a separate chairman and a managing director for the fund house. The appointment was approved by the shareholders in an extraordinary general meeting held in Mumbai on Wednesday.

State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda and Life Insurance Corporation hold 18.5 per cent each, while US-based investment manager T Rowe Price owns 26 per cent in UTI AMC. T Rowe Price has been pushing for a professional head for the fund.

PR Khanna, director, UTI said, “We are pleased to have a professional of the calibre of Puri on board of UTI AMC. Puri brings three decades of valuable experience in the financial services industry, and we are certain that he will be able to take the organisation to higher levels of excellence.”

Puri, 52, has master’s degrees from Oxford and Cambridge, the UK. In his professional career spanning over 30 years, Puri has worked in the UK, and the US. Since 1994, he has been based in India.

Puri, former head of McKinsey in India, joined as managing director at Warburg Pincus India Pvt Ltd in March 2007. After a four-year stint he quit the PE firm, interestingly, just a couple of months after UTI Mutual Fund lost its chief.

During his presence at the PE firm, Warburg Pincus invested (and reinvested) in close to a dozen firms including Punj Lloyd, Amtek Auto, Havells India, Laqshya Media, Unique Affordable Homes, Metropolis Healthcare and Continental Warehousing.

He currently serves as a senior advisor at McKinsey & Co, Inc., where he joined in December 2011. He is also an additional director of Infosys.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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