The government is set to appoint Arundhati Bhattacharya as one of the managing directors of State Bank of India.
Bhattacharya, who is the managing director and chief executive officer of SBI Capital Markets, merchant banking arm of the country’s largest lender, will replace Diwakar Gupta, who is the managing director and chief financial officer of the bank and who will retire this month-end. SBI has four managing directors.
Bhattacharya will become the first woman managing director of the bank. She is seen as a strong contender to become chairperson of the bank when Pratip Chaudhuri retires in end-September.
To become eligible as chairman of SBI, a candidate needs to have two years of residual service. Among the present, none meets the criterion, as three will retire by April next year and one in November 2014. The other three MDs are Hemant Contractor, S Visvanathan and A Krishna Kumar.
Bhattacharya will have two-and-a-half years of service left from October. The government, however, can always relax the residual service criteria while appointing chairmen and managing directors in public sector banks.
A selection panel comprising Rajiv Takru, secretary, financial services, in the ministry of finance; Anand Sinha, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (nominee of the governor) and a professor from an Indian Institute of Management, among others, had interviewed candidates for the MD post in June.
P Pradeep Kumar, who looks after the global markets division in SBI, also appeared for the interview. The search panel had recommended Bhattacharya’s name, which was approved by the finance minister.
The banking behemoth is heading for huge changes in the top management, with as many as seven deputy managing directors and the managing director of one associate bank and one subsidiary (deputy managing director rank) retiring over the next one-and-a-half years, apart from the four managing directors and chairman.