JP Morgan's Kalpana Morparia set to retire; Leo Puri to take over the reins

The global banking major said in a statement Morparia, 72, had expressed her desire to retire, but agreed to stay until Q1 2021.
Kalpana Morparia (pictured), chairman of JP Morgan South Asia and South East Asia, plans to hang up her boots by early next year. Leo Puri, former chief executive officer (CEO) of UTI Mutual Fund, will replace her.

The global banking major said in a statement Morparia, 72, had expressed her desire to retire, but agreed to stay until Q1 2021. She would oversee the smooth transition of her India, and South and South East Asia responsibilities, it said.

Murali Maiya will become the new CEO for South and South East Asia, and will report to Filippo Gori, CEO, Asia-Pacific. Madhav Kalyan, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, India, will become senior country officer for India from Q1 2021.

Morparia, a lawyer from the Government Law College, Mumbai, spent her first 33 years of career in Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI), which merged into ICICI Bank, and was identified by the bank’s former MD and CEO to take over the treasury operations in 1996. “Since then, she never looked back and was among (K V) Kamath’s A-team and was leading from the front till her retirement,” said a Mumbai banker.

One of Morparia's key tasks at ICICI was to draft the legal framework for the JP Morgan-ICICI Bank joint venture in 1991, which fell apart five years later. “Banking is all about cross-selling, much like a hypermarket where players are trying to get as much as possible from one customer,” she told this newspaper in an earlier interview. The US-based bank wanted to do much more than what the ICICI Bank joint venture allowed and since many of the products were off-bounds, they decided to move on. It’s unlikely that too many joint ventures will take off in this space, she had said.

Bankers said the current CEO of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, and Morparia shared a good rapport and once Morparia retired from ICICI Bank in 2008, JP Morgan was waiting with an offer for her to head the investment bank in India. One of the first tasks at the international bank for Morparia was to customise as many of its global products as possible for the Indian corporate sector that was raring to go global. A few years earlier, JP Morgan’s products may not have been as relevant but with "the appetite that India companies have to go global, there’s a lot of potential," she had said.

But despite more than a decade at JP Morgan, bankers said Morparia, a Hindi movie buff, is still known for her work at ICICI Bank which, she admitted to this paper, was like a surname. “I could never complete an introduction without saying ‘Kalpana Morparia from ICICI’.


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