Bengaluru: P.S. Jayakumar filled the top position at the state-owned Bank of Baroda Ltd as managing director and chief executive on 13 October, but the move left VBHC Value Homes Pvt. Ltd, an affordable housing firm he co-founded with former Citibank NA colleague Jaithirth Rao, without a head.

VBHC, which has projects in Mumbai, Bengaluru, National Capital Region (NCR) and Chennai, is now actively scouting for a chief executive officer and has appointed a headhunter to find one, said VBHC chairman Rao.

As VBHC’s managing director and CEO, Jayakumar was instrumental in building the firm’s pan-India business and managing a growing portfolio of projects.

“Jayakumar was a multitasker, and in the new CEO, we are looking for similar capabilities... He will be based out of either Bengaluru or Mumbai and needs to have a good track record and professional experience, even if he doesn’t have real estate experience in particular," Rao said.

Jayakumar has resigned from VBHC’s board of directors but continues to retain a share in the company, said Rao.

In 2008, Rao approached Jayakumar for his new housing venture after selling a majority stake in IT services firm Mphasis Corp. Jayakumar deliberated on the proposal, did his own research and finally left Citibank in 2009.

They launched VBHC Value Homes in 2009 and started their first project—Vaibhava—in Bengaluru in 2010.

During 2009-10, when no one wanted to buy expensive homes after the 2008 slowdown, VBHC entered the affordable housing scene, and so did Tata Housing Development Co. and Ramesh Ramanathan’s Janaadhar (India) Pvt. Ltd.

“It is important that entrepreneurs, like Jerry Rao (Jaithirth Rao), Ramesh Ramanathan and Jayakumar are present in the real estate business, because they bring with them certain amount of transparency and credibility in the sector that is otherwise lacking," said a property consultant, requesting anonymity.

Jayakumar was appointed to head Bank of Baroda as part of the government’s initiative to hire private sector professionals to head public-sector banks.

He joined the bank at a time when the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which investigates foreign exchange violations, arrested four people in October in connection with the suspected transfer of black money from Bank of Baroda accounts to entities based in Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Separately, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested an assistant general manager and another official dealing with foreign exchange at the bank’s Ashok Vihar branch in Delhi.

Other than Jayakumar, Rakesh Sharma of Lakshmi Vilas Bank also took over as managing director and chief executive of Canara Bank in September.