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Y. Sudhir Kumar Shetty – Unleashing the Success Strategy

In this era of globalization, the top requirement to run a company successfully is to have a strong ability to lead. One must possess the ability to think strategically in a global business setting. Change is all around us, which can be adopting a new business strategy to a global world in a more competitive market. Apart from all these, effective leadership is the most important aspect of a company. Displaying the master stroke of business is Mr. Y. Sudhir Kumar Shetty, a visionary, a financier and a best in class leader, who defines success through uniting cultures.

Brand in Finance world

Mr. Y. Sudhir Kumar Shetty is a leading figure in the field of finance and global remittance. He is the President of UAE Exchange, a leading global remittance, foreign exchange and payment solutions brand in the world. Prior to that, he served as the Chief Operating Officer of Global Operations of UAE Exchange Centre LLC. He has been leading the UAE Exchange global operations since 1991.

From an organisation with four branches in the UAE, Mr. Shetty has led the entity to emerge into a global player with over 700 branches in 31 countries, the largest networked brand in its class. He nurtured and built a powerful team of professionals to achieve top feats in product improvement, customer relationship management, brand positioning and quality benchmarking. Today, UAE Exchange serves over 6.5 million expatriate customers, worldwide, handling 6% of the total global remittances.

Before joining UAE Exchange, Mr. Sudhir worked with a range of audit firms gaining good insight and hands-on experience in financial management. He holds membership of various executive and business councils in the UAE. He has been an Associate Member of the Indian Institute of Chartered Accountants since 1990. Alongside, Mr. Sudhir Kumar Shetty has also been instrumental in building strong bonds with the various expatriate communities, including a large percentage of Indians, who trust the brand for its quality services and professional customer care.

About UAE Exchange

UAE Exchange is a United Arab Emirates based company dealing primarily in remittances, foreign exchange and bill payment solutions. UAE Exchange was founded in 1980 and this financial institution has today, grown into one of the leading global remittances, Foreign Exchange and payment solutions brands in the world.

What makes the brand different is its customer-centric approach. Driven by people, product and process; the brand believes in ‘going that extra mile’ for its customers by providing them with prompt and customised services as per their financial needs. The various promotions organised at the branch and social media platforms are also a way to reward its customers for their continued patronage. The service portfolio of the brand includes Money Transfer, foreign exchange and bill payments.

An ISO certified company and member of prestigious global associations, UAE Exchange has also been recognised and awarded for its quality and business excellence. Over 9000 professionals, representing more than 40 nationalities, strive to achieve excellence and bring delight to more than 15 million customers worldwide. Strong correspondent banking relationship with over 140 global banks and smart technology add to its might, making it the widest globally networked remittance brand.

Education – The Foundation Stone

Mr. Shetty attributes a share of his success for the education he received, which serves as a backbone for his successful stint. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law and degree in Commerce from the University of Mysore in India. He also successfully completed the ‘Key Executive Program’ from Harvard Business School, USA.

The Journey

It has long been a paradox that many people who hail from small, tiny villages usually end up creating a big name for themselves at the national as well as international level. Climbing the ladder of success was not a cake walk for Mr. Sudhir Kumar Shetty.

Commitment and hard work coupled with insatiable zest to reach the zenith paved the way for his accomplishments. Though not every achiever has his roots in a village, here is a true community achiever who has risen from a simple family in idyllic village miles away from Mangalore, and has been a role model for up-and-coming youngsters who aspire to become top executives of big firms.

A brilliant, extremely down-to-earth, highly religious and more importantly a person of warm and friendly nature, Mr. Sudhir Kumar Shetty hails from Yenmakaje, a remote rural setting far from the city, where there was not even the most basic facilities. Education in those days was not an easy task to achieve, especially in rural areas. A brilliant student, Sudhir Shetty secured first class both in PUC and degree (B.Com.), which helped him to enrol for Chartered Accountancy. Academic-hungry Sudhir Shetty simultaneously opted for a law degree from SDM Law College.

In the year 1982, he completed his CA, and practised under the late V M Shetty & Co. After three year of articleship, he rendered his service as a lecturer in accountancy, costing and income tax at VAG’s place, Carstreet. Mr. Shetty proved to be great leader too while serving in the capacity of the president elect of Rotaract Club, Mangalore. He was dynamic and proactive, two qualities which took him to greater heights in the years to come.

Crossroads: Change of destiny

Most people reactively let the most powerful experiences happen. Few people continuously create those experiences. Mr. Shetty had no plans to go abroad to build his career. But it was his meeting with Mr. B. R. Shetty, chairman of NMC Group that changed his mind and his life forever.

Accepting the interesting offer of internal auditor’s job in NMC Group, Abu Dhabi, Mr. Sudhir Kumar Shetty has since then never looked back.  His highly creative mental faculties, able administrative skills and dynamic leadership helped him forge ahead to higher levels of the company’s hierarchy. From being the group’s internal auditor, he found himself at the helm of affairs of UAE Exchange in 1991, after the sudden demise of the then UAE Exchange chief.

Until 1991, UAE Exchange had only four branches in UAE. His arrival made a strong and long-lasting impact in the business and growth of the company. The company’s branches began mushrooming all over UAE (Dubai, Ras Al Khaima, Fujairah, Sharjah etc.) and very soon, the company witnessed unprecendented levels of growth. In 1996, he initiated back office in India (Cochin) for downloading data in India. Under his baton, an in-house IT development project was imitated, which today has resulted in enabling money transfer from any UAE Exchange outlet to anywhere in the world within fractions of a second.

A successful career

Mr. Sudhir Kumar Shetty is an active member of several executive and business councils in UAE and is also the Vice Chairman of FERG (Foreign Exchange and Remittance Group), a non-profit organization formed on the initiative of the Central Bank of UAE. He feels elated to be on-board with the UAE Exchange team. He says that “heading UAE Exchange has been an exciting journey of self-discovery for me. The freedom and trust bestowed on me by its founders has empowered me to do a responsible job. Added to it, the efficient team of professionals, working with me, made the challenging role, easier. I am extremely thankful for all of that. This recognition has filled pride in me as an Indian. I feel it is an apt ode to the NRIs, whose contributions have mostly gone unnoticed.”

Success is all about Growing

Reflecting an ace level of business elegance, Mr. Sudhir Kumar Shetty raised himself to be the Executive Director and President – Global Operations of UAE Exchange, most diversified remittance companies of the world. He infused his intuitive tech-insight and operational prowess, leading the company to gain momentum by leaps and bounds.

Law and commerce gradation has given an upper hand in business trajectory, conducive to the upbringing of a culture that aerated with product improvement, customer relationship management, brand positioning and quality bench-marking. Episodes of success followed by Mr. Sudhir from the day one with Dr. B.R. Shetty, then Managing Director and CEO of NMC Group of Companies. He joined as an Internal Auditor of the NMC Group of companies soon elevated to Head UAE Exchange, the Remittance and Money Exchange Company of the NMC group.

A Dynamic Leader

Throughout his tenure with UAE Exchange, Mr. Shetty has been exhibiting moral and ethical courage, guiding his team and creating an inspiring vision for the company. Much of the company’s success can be accredited to Mr. Sudhir Kumar Shetty.

In the year 2007, the company recorded over 8 billion USD remittance, out of which 3.7 billion USD (about Rs. 14,000 crore) was remittance only to India. Today UAE Exchange under the leadership of Mr. Sudhir Kumar Shetty has reached the pinnacle of success with high quality service, spread over 17 countries, 374 offices with over 6000 employees. In UAE despite stiff competition and growing number of money exchange companies, UAE Exchange is enjoying 60% of the total market space which speaks volumes about the strong presence of the company.


Multifarious disposition frilled with expertise in areas of leadership, business, philanthropy, cultural inclination, mingled with patriotism, fostering education and sports creates a distinct aura that enlightens the various roles he takes up. At the dint of his oratory elegance, he claimed a space for himself among the academic and professional gatherings around the world including World Bank, United Nations HQ, USA and more.


His inexplicit business skills has garnered him various accolades which adds more colour to his rich cap. He has been adorned with awards like Global Personality Award, Mayura Award, Akshaya Global Award, Vishwamaanya Award and many more at an individual level. He has also driven the culture of excellence in UAE Exchange, which won several coveted awards under his leadership. In addition to this, Mr. Sudhir received the NRI of the Year Award in 2014, Excellence in Finance Award from ICAI Abu Dhabi Chapter and Jeevaragam Global Personality Award in 2012.

His command over a range of subjects and exceptional oratory skills has made him a much-sought-after speaker in various seminars, events and educational institutions; worldwide. An eloquent speaker, Mr. Sudhir is regularly invited at various academic and professional gatherings around the world including World Bank, United Nations HQ, USA and more.

Mr. Sudhir Kumar Shetty has also been bestowed with the Eminent Aloysian Alumni Award by his alma mater St. Aloysious College in Mangalore in, 2014. He thanked the institution for instilling strong values, which helped him in building a successful career on a global canvas.

A Sports Enthusiast

Mr. Shetty who is passionate about sports, believes that sport activities have a way of not just entertaining, but also bringing people together and enhancing communities. UAE Exchange is one of the premier organizations supporting community and cultural activities through various kinds of sponsorship programmes. It has dedicated basketball, cricket, bowling and football teams which participate even at the international level.

UAE Exchange Achievements at a glance:

Under Mr. Sudhir Kumar Shetty’s leadership, UAE Exchange has made tremendous strides. Some of the key achievements are:

  • UAE Exchange became the first agent for Western Union Money Transfer in the Middle East.
  • It became member of SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication).
  • UAE Exchange has the distinction of being the world’s first member of Non-banking Institutions.
  • It moved out of UAE to other countries like Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar etc.
  • The company spread its wings further from the Gulf and India, moving to the USA, Australia, Sudan, the UK, Uganda, Hong Kong, Fiji, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Pakistan and other countries.
  • UAE Exchange became the first money exchange company to introduce Gold Card service. In 1999, it was the first money exchange company to use the internet facility to introduce instant cash transfer called Xpress money to anywhere in the world.
  • MRM Business Excellence Award in Financial Service – 2007.
  • International Money Transfer Association London Award for Innovation of the year 2007.
  • Excellence in Straight through Processing by Deutsch Bank – 2006.
  • Dubai Quality Appreciation Programme – 2006.
  • Dubai Service Excellence Scheme Award for the Best Branch – 2006.

Business Mantra for Success

Mr. Sudhir Kumar Shetty is grateful to B.R. Shetty, founder and chairman of NMC Group (UAE Exchange is also a part of it) for his timely guidance and inspiration. He describes him as one of the greatest personalities of the era.

Mr. Sudhir is still one of the youngest chief operating officers at the international level and truly an inspiration to thousands of young executives, especially youngsters of the community. He loves challenges and always advises youngsters to be on their toes with a steady head on their shoulders. According to him, ‘Hard work, Commitment and Dedication should always be a part of one’s life and today’s youth should follow this simple formula first no matter what they aim to achieve.’

His dedication and leadership have proved that one can bring up any company to high levels of success with sheer focus on work, using latest technology and manpower, together with creative ideas and presence of mind.

“What is most important is to be fair, treat everyone equally and take decisions purely on merit. Be always impartial and ever ready to take up any challenge in life”, is the piece of advice from Mr. Shetty to the budding achievers.

Master of Perseverance

Considered as an authority in the financial realm, especially in remittance and foreign exchange, Mr. Sudhir Kumar Shetty is the voice, the industry and the Media turn to. An alumnus of the Harvard Business School, he has been instrumental in streamlining the remittance and foreign exchange segment in the UAE, in particular. His leadership, technical insight and operational expertise have strengthened the culture of innovation in UAE Exchange and infused inimitable quality in all aspects of its business operations.


Cochin Herald

All stories by: Cochin Herald