Renuka Ramnath quits ICICI Venture

Her departure, a possibility PEI Asia reported last week, is a huge blow to ICICI Venture, which is currently in the market for a $1.2bn fund.

Renuka Ramnath, the managing director and chief executive officer of ICICI Venture, has resigned from the firm, effective today. 

Vishakha Mulye, the executive director of ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company, has replaced Ramnath, a source close to the development said in an interview.

Her loss will be significant, as ICICI Venture is currently in the market for a $1.2 billion private equity fund. The target amount has already been reduced from $1.5 billion owing to a difficult fundraising environment.

Under her leadership, ICICI Venture went from being a firm that engaged only in venture investing to one that also pursues growth capital, buyout, real estate and mezzanine strategies. The firm manages assets of about $2.5 billion.

The latest development follows two months of Indian media speculation over Ramnath’s future. When a report of her quitting the firm first emerged in February, the firm denied it as mere speculation.

Ramnath is likely to raise her own private equity fund with a couple of her colleagues at ICICI Venture, according to India’s Economic Times. The paper also suggests that Renuka's decision to quit the firm was sparked by ICICI Bank's move to appoint Chanda Kochhar as its chief operating officer from 1 May.

Ramnath has been heading ICICI Venture since 2001, a role she assumed following the merger of ICICI Eco-Net with ICICI Venture. Prior to that, she was the managing director of ICICI Eco-Net, where she headed the bank’s e-commerce initiatives.

She has been with the firm’s parent company ICICI Bank since 1986, when she began her career at the merchant banking division. She then headed the corporate finance and equities businesses of ICICI Securities, an investment banking joint venture between ICICI and JPMorgan. In 1997, Ramnath returned to the bank to set up a structured finance business.