Along side being the co-head of Kotak Mahindra Bank’s mobile banking app, Kotak 811, Jay Kotak, son of billionaire banker and promoter of Kotak Mahindra Bank Uday Kotak, has assumed additional charge as Senior Vice-President – Conglomerate Relationships on Tuesday. “I will work closely with Wholesale, Private and Institutional business at Kotak to enhance our franchise and work towards improved access in large business groups,” he said on LinkedIn.

Succession planning

At a time when the industry was of the view that Jay Kotak still had time to eye the corner office at 27, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai, Kotak Mahindra Bank’s registered office, assuming additional responsibilities, especially in the wholesale banking division, sends out signals that perhaps he’s being prepared for the top job sooner than expected.

To be sure, the top job at the bank may come for reappointment by December 2026, in the normal course of functioning, when Ashok Vaswani’s three-year term starting January 1, 2024, concludes.

Ashok Vaswani, former CEO at Barclays Bank, was appointed as MD and CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank on October 21, 2023, to succeed Dipak Gupta who’s currently holding the office. To put things in context, on September 2, Uday Kotak, the then MD and CEO of the bank tendered his early retirement from the position, post which Gupta was appointed as interim CEO of the bank.

According to sources, Jay Kotak has been working on his new role since May this year, though it became official only earlier this week. Many say this is also one of the few times at the bank, when a retail banking executive would also be dabbling with a corporate banking role. Some also point out that it’s not common to have co-heads of a certain business take a lower designation in another division of the bank. “The fact that he’s beginning to get a pulse of corporate banking is an indicator that his grooming for the top role has started,” said a former senior executive of the bank.

Jay Kotak, who married his long-time girlfriend Aditi Arya, a former Miss India in November this year, was elevated as co-head, Kotal 811 app, in January 2021 to drive the digital initiatives of the bank. Prior to this, he worked in the retail banking and investment banking divisions of the bank.

Other conglomerates

Jay Kotak assuming larger responsibilities at the bank closely follows the succession planning strategy followed by family-led conglomerates, including Reliance Industries and Godrej. The three children of Mukesh Ambani have worked across key business subsidiaries in various positions before being inducted into the Reliance board this year.