Top dealmaker Nimesh Kampani calls it a day
Nimesh Kampani

Nimesh Kampani, one of India’s top dealmakers, has decided to quit as the managing director of JM Financial Ltd with effect from 30 September 2016.

His tenure was to last until the end of March 2017 but he has voluntarily stepped down, the company said in a stock-exchange filing.

He will continue as the non-executive chairman of the company and the group he founded in 1973, and will also be on the board of some group companies.

The financial services company also said it has appointed Nimesh Kampani's son Vishal Kampani to take over as managing director from 1 October 2016.

“I believe that it is important for all businesses to implement a proper succession plan and I am committed to follow the same. With this in mind, I have decided to retire from executive role with effect from September 30, 2016 when I turn 70,” Kampani said in a statement.

Kampani, along with the DSP Group’s Hemendra Kothari and the Kotak Mahindra group’s Uday Kotak, is widely regarded as a cult figure in the Indian investment banking industry. 

He has been responsible for several marquee deals in his long career. That includes the division of assets between the billionaire brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani in 2005, for which Kampani was assigned to do the valuation of their diversified business.

At the time, JM Financial had a joint venture for investment banking and securities business with Morgan Stanley. The JV ended in 2007 with JM Financial selling its 49% stake in the institutional broking and equity sales division, JM Morgan Stanley Securities, for about Rs 2,000 crore.

Separately, Kampani acquired Morgan Stanley’s 49% stake in JM Morgan Stanley Pvt. Ltd, which looked at other divisions such as fixed income, wealth management, and advisory and distribution businesses.

Later, the firm led by Kampani forged several deals with former Citibank chief Vikram Pandit, who was with Morgan Stanley till 2005. In 2014, Pandit acquired a 50% stake in JM Financial’s real estate lending arm for Rs 525 crore.  

Kampani has had his share of lows. He ran into rough weather in 2009 when the Andhra Pradesh police issued a look out notice against him and 17 others in a case involving Nagarjuna Finance. Kampani had been an independent director on the board of the company in 1998-99, and the firm had been charged with defaulting on deposits worth Rs 100 crore. He had to stay out of India for nearly a year.

Some other notable transactions where JM Financial was involved include Diageo’s $2.2 billion acquisition of United Spirits in 2012 and the listing of Tata Consultancy Services in 2004.

Kampani could not be reached for comment over the phone. In the media statement, he said he would now like to spend more time and efforts on socially relevant activities. “And surely on the activities that I truly enjoy but never found time for,” he added.

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