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Veteran banker N Vaghul passes away

Veteran banker N Vaghul died on Saturday afternoon due to health complications, sources said. He was 88.

Vaghul, who has held many leadership positions in the banking industry, is credited with transforming ICICI from a public finance institution to a private sector bank in his 11-year stint as the chairman and managing director, starting in 1985.

He was admitted to a private hospital in Chennai due to some health complications and was on ventilator support, as per the sources.

The last rites of Vaghul, who was honoured with the country’s third highest civilian award Padma Bhushan in 2006, are expected to be held in Chennai later this evening, according to the sources.

Vaghul started his career as an officer with the State Bank of India in the pre-liberalisation era of the 1960s and quit the country’s largest lender to take up a teaching job at the National Institute of Banking Management.

Within two years, he became the director at the Pune-based institute but returned to banking soon after as an executive director in the state-owned Central Bank of India.

In 1981, he became the chairman and managing director of Bank of India at 44, becoming one of the youngest heads to steer any state-owned lender.

However, he was soon appointed as ICICI’s CMD, where he led a team of young bankers and oversaw the transformation of the institution into a private sector bank.

The Madras University graduate, hailing from a rural family, served ICICI till 1996 and took up a slew of assignments in corporate India by serving company boards.

Auto major Mahindra and Mahindra was among the boards he served on.

Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra termed him as “Bhishma Pitamaha” and called himself blessed to have known him and been guided by him.

Vaghul played an active role in deepening corporate philanthropy and was deeply associated with bodies like Pratham, which works on education.

At one point, he got industry leaders like Mukesh Ambani, Ajay Piramal, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Gautam Thapar and L N Mittal on the board of Pratham India Education Initiative.

Edited by Swetha Kannan

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