Former Economic Affairs Secretary Atanu Chakraborty is tipped to be the next Chairperson of the country’s largest private sector lender HDFC Bank, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told CNBC-TV18. The appointment, however, is subject to the Reserve Bank of India’s approval.
The board of HDFC Bank cleared Atanu Chakraborty’s name for the position of Part-Time Chairperson of the bank in its meeting held yesterday, said one of the persons quoted earlier. The current Chairperson of the board, Shyamala Gopinath is set to retire in a few days from now on January 1, 2021.
While the bank did not disclose Chakraborty’s name, CNBC-TV18 has learnt that the board unanimously approved the appointment, and had also unofficially sounded out RBI earlier on the recommendation before sending the name for the final approval.
In a notice to exchanges last evening, HDFC Bank said, “We wish to inform you that pursuant to the recommendations of the Nomination & Remuneration Committee, the Board of Directors of HDFC Bank Ltd (“the Bank”) at its meeting held today, has recommended the appointment of the Part-Time Chairperson of the Bank and has submitted its recommendation to the Reserve Bank of India for approval under Section 35B of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. Further disclosure in this regard will be made after receipt of communication from the Reserve Bank of India.”
The appointment assumes significance as the bank has recently undergone a leadership transition, with its long time MD & CEO Aditya Puri retiring in October, and Sashidhar Jagdishan taking his place.
Chakraborty is a seasoned bureaucrat, and last served in a key position in the Finance Ministry as the Economic Affairs Secretary until his superannuation on April 30, 2020. In his long career as a civil servant, Chakraborty held several important positions, including that of the Secretary in the Ministry of Finance- both in the Department of Economic Affairs as well as Divestment. He was the Secretary of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) from between 2018 and 2019, and the Economic Affairs Secretary from 2019 to April 2020. Chakraborty also held the position of the Director General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) in the petroleum ministry in the past.
“Atanu Chakraborty may only be able to join as the Chairperson of the bank by May 1, 2021 as he has a one year cooling-off period since his retirement in April this year. Until then, one of the independent directors will chair meetings,” said a person with direct knowledge of the development on the condition of anonymity as the bank has not made the name public yet.
In its exchange notice yesterday, HDFC Bank said that the board will select an Independent Director to chair the meetings till such time that the new Part‐time Chairperson is inducted on the Board.
Atanu Chakraborty declined to comment on CNBC-TV18’s story. HDFC Bank’s response is awaited.