Renuka Ramnath, the managing director and CEO of ICICI Venture, is quitting India's largest private equity firm. When VCCircle spoke to Ramnath to confirm the development, she laughed it off, saying "not yet". Ramnath is believed to have communicated to her colleagues and ICICI Bank officials about her decision to move out of the firm. She may quit officially over the next few days. Ramnath is likely to start her own fund, although she may keep options to join other firms.
Vishakha Mulye, the executive director of ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company, is the frontrunner to take over from Ramnath. Mulye was earlier Group Chief Financial Officer of parent company ICICI Bank and played a major role in merger of ICICI with ICICI Bank.
NDTV Profit earlier reported that Ramnath, who is often referred to as the mother of Indian private equity, may quit and set up her own private equity fund. The news channel has also reported that she may join Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR), which recently set up India
shop with hiring former Citigroup India honcho Sanjay Nayar.
The exit would come at a time when top deck at parent company ICICI Bank had been shuffled. Last year ICICI Bank announced that Chanda Kochhar would be the new CEO from May 2009, taking over from the present CEO KV Kamath. Post this announcement, speculations were abuzz on Ramnath and Shikha Sharma, managing director of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, quitting their respective firms. Both of them were considered contenders for CEO's post. Sharma is considered to be the frontrunner for the top job at Axis Bank, whose incumbent chief PJ Nayak is retiring.
Under Ramnath's leadership ICICI Venture has emerged as India's biggest private equity fund, with assets under management around $2.5 billion in private equity, buyouts, real estate and mezzanine. ICICI Venture has invested in a number of pioneering Indian companies like
Deccan Aviation, Pantaloon, Infoedge (Naukri.com), Biocon, etc.
Ramnath, a 48-year old ICICI veteran having spent 20 years in various roles at the group, was recently in news over the question of who was responsbile for the sad state of affairs at retailer Subhiksha. Ramnath is a graduate in Engineering and holds an MBA in Finance from University of Bombay. She also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.