The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon give its nod for the next chief executive officer and managing director of Mumbai-headquartered RBL Bank, two people directly in the know of the matter told CNBC-TV18.
The list sent by the bank's board has two names, that of a lady and a gentleman, and as per sources, one is currently the head of a foreign bank in India, and the other is a former head of a public sector bank.
In a surprise move last Christmas, the MD and CEO Vishwavir Ahuja went on leave, and Rajeev Ahuja was named interim head. The bank and the RBI did not disclose the reason, but the street took the move as a sign of trouble, and bank stock lost considerable value.
What we know about the selected candidates
The lady had spent a considerable amount of time at another private bank in her earlier stint. This private bank is known to have produced many CEOs. The gentleman has proved his mettle by turning around a fraud-ridden housing finance company as its administrator under the bankruptcy law. He is widely regarded in the industry as the man who led the successful resolution of the first financial services company to be sent to the bankruptcy courts.
Sources tell CNBC-TV18 that the role might go to the head of the foreign bank. While some in the market may question why she would leave a plush job to join a mid-tier private bank, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise, given that the foreign bank has seen at least three former CEOs leave to head other private banks.
The appointment is expected to happen in the next few weeks, as Rajeev Ahuja’s term is set to end just a little over a month from now.
RBL Bank under Vishwavir Ahuja
The bank was growing significantly under Vishwavir Ahuja, who started his stint at RBL in July 2010. Net profits grew from Rs 12 crore in FY11 to Rs 867 crore in FY19 before going into the negative territory in FY22.
After 2018-19, RBL Bank was under the investors’ radar for higher non-performing assets than its peers, as some of its corporate loan bets didn’t pay off.
After the initial pain in December, soon after Vishwavir Ahuja's exit, the bank said it was able to stabilise the deposit outflows in January. Amidst this turmoil, the new CEO’s task is cut out – that of steadying the ship.
First Published: IST