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finance | IST

Change of guard at SBI: Rajnish Kumar’s term ends today, govt yet to name new chief

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The country’s largest lender State Bank of India is set to witness a change of guard with its Chairman Rajnish Kumar’s term coming to an end on Tuesday, October 6. Kumar, now at 62, succeeded Arundhati Bhattacharya as the Chairman of the bank on October 7, 2017. He was appointed for a period of three years. Arundhati Bhattacharya is the only Chairperson of State Bank of India whose term was extended by a year since the bank was in the middle of a mega merger in 2016, even though she had reached the retirement age of 60.

The country’s largest lender State Bank of India is set to witness a change of guard with its Chairman Rajnish Kumar’s term coming to an end on Tuesday, October 6. Kumar, now at 62, succeeded Arundhati Bhattacharya as the Chairman of the bank on October 7, 2017. He was appointed for a period of three years. Arundhati Bhattacharya is the only Chairperson of State Bank of India whose term was extended by a year since the bank was in the middle of a mega merger in 2016, even though she had reached the retirement age of 60.
With this comes the next question. Who takes over as the next Chief of the bank? The Bank Board Bureau (BBB), which is tasked with identifying heads of public banks, has recommended Dinesh Khara’s name for the position. Khara is the senior-most of the four managing directors of SBI, and is in charge of global banking and subsidiaries of the bank. BBB also recommended Challa Sreenivasulu Setty’s name as the reserve candidate. Setty is also one of the four MDs of the bank, and currently handles its retail business.
However, the government is yet to officially notify the name of the next Chairperson. Rajnish Kumar, unlike his predecessor, may not see his term getting extended as per insiders. Khara’s appointment notification from the central government is expected by Tuesday, failing which, Kumar would have to demit office upon completion of his term, and the senior-most MD, who is Dinesh Khara, would have to fill in until the new chairperson is officially named. Either way, Khara would be the man in charge of the country’s largest bank, come October 7.
With Khara’s elevation, one of the four MD positions will also fall vacant. A few weeks later, at the end of October, another MD - Arijit Basu - is also set to complete his term. This would leave two positions vacant by the month-end. BBB today announced that it has shortlisted two candidates for the position.
“Banks Board Bureau interfaced with 16 candidates from various nationalised banks and State Bank of India on October 5, 2020, for vacancies of Managing Director in State Bank of India. Keeping in view their performance in the interface and extant parameters, the Bureau recommends the following names in order of merit: Swaminthan Janakiraman for the first vacancy of MD in SBI. Ashwini Kumar Tewari for the second vacancy of MD in SBI,” it said in a public notice.
While Swaminthan Janakiraman is currently the Deputy Managing Director in charge of the Finance function at the bank, Ashwini Kumar Tewari was just named the MD & CEO of the bank’s subsidiary- SBI Card- in August.
BBB also named Prakash Chandra Kandpal and Alok Kumar Choudhary as the candidates on the Reserve List for the MD vacancies. The final decision on the MD positions will be taken by the government in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India.