Mumbai: Finance minister P. Chidambaram has cleared the name of Arundhati Bhattacharya, managing director and chief financial officer of State Bank of India (SBI), for the post of chairman of the bank, according to two people familiar with the development.
Bhattacharya’s name will be finalized for the SBI top job only after the appointments committee of the cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister, gives its clearance. The announcement is likely by the end of this month. If indeed that happens, she will be State Bank’s first woman head.
Last week, an interview panel shortlisted Bhattacharya and Hemant G. Contractor, another managing director of SBI, for the post of the bank’s chairman, which will fall vacant in October after incumbent Pratip Chaudhuri retires.
“Bhattacharya’s name has been cleared by the finance minister. But it will be final only after ACC gives its nod,” one of the people cited earlier said.
Four managing directors of the nation’s largest lender were interviewed on Saturday by a panel consisting of financial services secretary Rajiv Takru and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor Anand Sinha, among others.
Contractor is in charge of international operations; Krishnakumar and Viswanathan look after national banking and associates and subsidiaries, respectively.
Except for Bhattacharya, none of the three other managing directors has more than two years of service left. The government has relaxed rules by waiving the precondition of two-year residual service for the chairman’s post. Also, under new norms, Chaudhuri’s successor will get at least a three-year tenure, irrespective of age.