Born in Kapu, Udupi Karnataka India in to Shambhu Shetty and Koosamma Shetty in the 1940s to an ethnic Tuluva family. Shetty completed his pharmaceutical education in India and also served as the Vice-Chairman of the Municipal Council in Udupi where he worked toward providing proper sanitary facilities, building concrete roads, schools, underground drainage and septic tanks which would increase health and quality of life within the community. He moved to the UAE in 1973 with only a few dirhams to his name. He married C. R. Shetty and has four children.
Shetty immigrated to the UAE in 1973. After working as the country's first medical representative, he founded New Medical Centre Health (NMC) hin 1975 to fill the need for personalized, cost-effective healthcare accessible to all. At that time, his wife was the only doctor in the clinic. NMC is now the largest private healthcare provider in the UAE with over four million patients annually across 45 facilities spread over 12 cities and 8 countries, including UAE, KSA, Oman, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Colombia and Brazil. It is the first healthcare company from the GCC and the first company from Abu Dhabi to be listed on the premium segment of the London Stock Exchange and is part of the coveted FTSE 250 Index.
Shetty established the UAE Exchange in 1980 in an attempt to ease the process of sending money by the expats to their families in their respective home countries. By 2016, it had expanded into over 31 countries and had approximately 800 direct offices. In 2014, it did over 50 billion USD collectively in money remittance and exchange volumes. He acquired Travelex, the world's leading foreign exchange company, in 2014. It has a global footprint including 1500 stores and 1300 ATMs across 27 countries.
In 2003, Shetty founded NMC Neopharma, a UAE based pharmaceutical manufacturer. Inaugurated by the then President of India, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam in Abu Dhabi, Neopharma is centered on using the concept of modular manufacturing following global benchmarks in manufacturing technology and putting in place efficient control mechanisms. Neopharma has a research and development wing and works to provide quality medicines at affordable prices. The company also contracts manufacturing for international pharmaceutical companies as well as generic brands for companies including, but not limited to, Merck, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Boots UK.
In 2012, Shetty led NMC through an IPO on the London Stock Exchange, which raised $330 million. The funds went towards building a specialty hospital in Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi.
Shetty announced in June 2016 that he was building the first medical university in Abu Dhabi in honor of Sheikh Zayed. He is exploring a scientific collaboration with some of the world's top universities, including Duke University and the University of California, San Diego, among others. That same month, he was elected to be chairman of the Indian Business/Professional Group. In August 2016, Shetty announced that he was building a 400-bed super-specialty hospital in Udupi in Karnataka through B R S Ventures. Shetty also owned a hospital in Alexandria,wo hospitals in Nepal and acquired a hospital in Cairo as part of his personal portfolio under the same company.
Shetty has invested in a medical institution in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. He is the founder and patron of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association in the Emirates, and is a member of the Advisory Board (Financial Sector), Economic Department, Government of Dubai, UAE and the Pharmaceutical Committee, Dubai. He is also the chairman of Abu Dhabi Indian School and Bright Riders School.
In August 2015, Shetty was elected as the Chairman to the board of directors of UAE Exchange. He was named chairman of The Indian Business/Professional Group in June 2016. H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum nominated Shetty as a member of the UAE medical council in September 2016.
In 2005, Shetty was awarded the highest civilian distinction in the Emirate, the Abu Dhabi Award. Given by H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the first year the distinction was awarded. Also in 2005, U.S. India Friendship Society presented Shetty the Distinguished Entrepreneur Award.
Shetty was honoured by the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2007.
Ernst & Young Middle East honored Shetty with the Entrepreneur of the year finalist award in 2008.
Shetty received the Padmashree awarded by the President of India in 2009 for his contribution in the field of trade and industry.
In July 2011, he received the Asian Achievers Award from the Human Achievers Foundation.
In 2013, Shetty was recognized as one of Asia's most promising leaders at the Asian Brand & Leadership Summit. In March 2013, he was awarded the International Achievers Summit's Lifetime Achievement Award. That same year, Shetty received the Asian Business Leadership Forum India-UAE Business Icons Award. He also received the 2013 Frost & Sullivan Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2014, Forbes Middle East recognized Shetty with the Top Indian Leaders in the UAE Award. He also received the Lakshya Business Visionary Award in 2014. That same year, Shetty was recognized with the International Achievement Award at the Indian Innovator Awards.
In February 2015, the Indian Club - Bahrain recognized Shetty with a Centenary Award. He received the Deal of the Year Award at the 2015 Indian CEO Awards. In June 2015, Shetty received the Business Personality of the Year award from Crowe Horwath International. That same month, Shetty received the Arabian Indian Czars award.
Shetty received the Global Indian Achiever Award in 2015 from H. H. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak al Nahyan. Also in 2015, H. H. Prince Faisal Bin Saud Bin Musaed Bin Abdulaziz presented Shetty with the National Cultural Award. Shetty's company, NMC Healthcare, received the Frost & Sullivan Middle East Integrated Healthcare Company of the Year Award in 2015. That same year, MILAAP honored Shetty with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
At the 2015 Gulf Business Industry Awards, Shetty was recognized as the Healthcare Business Leader of the Year. In November 2015, he was felicitated by More Ignatius Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Cathedral in Dubai. Shetty's NMC Healthcare was recognized at the 6th Middle East Business Leaders Awards in 2015, where Shetty was given the Industry Excellence in Healthcare Award.
In 2016, Shetty received the Golden Peacock Lifetime Achievement Award for Business Leadership. Also in 2016, Shetty won the Business Excellence Award from the Indian Business & Professional Council. Middlesex University in Dubai awarded Shetty an Honorary Doctorate in 2016.
In January 2017, Shetty was honored at the Annual Health Awards with a special award for his contribution to the region's healthcare industry. The following month, Shetty received the Nadaprabhu Kempegowda International Award at the Kempegowda International Festival.