Manoj Gupta: Chief Executive Officer, Kotak Infrastructure Debt Fund Limited

Chief Executive Officer, Kotak Infrastructure Debt Fund Limited

Manoj Gupta has been a banker for nearly 15 years. As a chartered accountant, he started his career with BOC India Limited, a leading gases and engineering company, in 2000. He was trained in strategic planning and implementation and worked closely with the then managing director to successfully transform the company into a larger and highly profitable entity.

In search of a more active role in the world of finance, Mr Gupta joined the Structured Finance Group of ICICI Bank in 2003. It was a steep learning curve from the world of gases to interest rates and sophisticated financing structures. After a three-year stint with ICICI Bank, he moved to Kotak Mahindra Bank in 2007 to set up the structured finance desk. Over a period of 10 years, he successfully built a strong franchise for Kotak in this field, providing financing solutions for some of the largest and most complex financing transactions in the market. Some of the clients include Tech Mahindra (for the Satyam acquisition), Munjals (for buying out Honda), Piramal, JSW Steel, Mahindra, Bajaj Finance and Shriram Transport, among others.

In 2017, Kotak decided to set up an infrastructure debt fund and Mr Gupta became its CEO to build the business. It is a tough segment with significant uncertainties of regulatory approvals, challenges related to input (raw material procurement) and output (weak contracts and dismal financial health of utilities), shallow financial markets and large dependence on foreign capital. Mr Gupta, however, is looking forward to the challenge and remains extremely optimistic about the outlook for this business. “We are the fastest growing economy in the world and there is no doubt that the next round of growth in India will come from infrastructure development. The government realises the importance of this sector and we are seeing fast-paced reforms and transparency in policy matters. There are exciting opportunities across sectors and Kotak is best positioned to establish a strong market presence. We want to steadily build a diversified business in road, power, healthcare, education, etc.,” says Mr Gupta.

On the personal front, his wife is a chartered accountant. She built the international ratings business for Crisil but given the demands of both their careers she decided to leave the corporate world and turned entrepreneur to follow her passion for books, and spend more time with their two children, a son and a daughter. He loves to travel and enjoys good food and music.