Mumbai: Paresh Sukthankar, deputy managing director (MD) and founding member of HDFC Bank Ltd has resigned, the private sector lender said in a regulatory filing on Friday.

“Mr Paresh Sukthankar has tendered his resignation as deputy managing director of the Bank, to be effective 90 days from the close of business hours of today (Friday)," it said.

Sukthankar’s resignation comes as a surprise as he was considered one of the front-runners to succeed MD and chief executive officer (CEO) Aditya Puri, who is set to retire in October 2020.

At an analyst meet in May this year, Puri had laid down a road map for leadership transition at the bank. The bank will look at both internal and external candidates and will announce the name 12 months before the retirement deadline, he had said.

“He cited personal reasons for leaving. I had told him that he was one of the candidates considered for the post of MD. However, the process would take two years before a final decision is taken," said Deepak Parekh, chairman of Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd (HDFC). “He is not going to any competition," Parekh said in response to a question on whether Sukthankar is headed to Axis Bank Ltd, which will be headless once its CEO Shikha Sharma steps down in December.

Sukthankar has been with HDFC Bank since its inception in 1994. He has direct or supervisory responsibilities for the credit and risk management, finance and human resources functions, and for various strategic initiatives of the bank.

Sukthankar was appointed deputy MD in 2017 after spending nearly two decades with the lender. Before joining HDFC Bank, he worked with Citibank in several departments, including corporate banking and risk management.

Sukthankar was also a member of various committees formed by the Reserve Bank of India and Indian Banks’ Association.

“We were expecting Sukthankar will take over once Puri steps down. But his resignation will not have a long-term impact on the bank. Leadership at HDFC Bank is quite strong," said Ashutosh Mishra, a banking analyst at Reliance Securities Ltd.