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Arnab Mitra &Mahua Venkatesh, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 06, 2013
A selection panel will interview State Bank of India’s (SBI’s) four managing directors on September 21 to select the new chairman of India’s largest bank. Current chairman Pratip Chaudhuri is due to retire at the end of this month.

The four MDs are Hemant Contractor (59), A Krishna Kumar (59), S Vishvanathan  (58)and Arundhati Bhattacharya (57). The new chairman will serve a term of three years.

There is a buzz around Bhattacharya, as she fulfils all the criteria to take over the hot seat. In addition, elevating her to the position of chairperson will allow the government to address the issue of gender equality.

But the dilemma for the selection panel is that she has been elevated to the role of MD only last month.

According to the original criteria, candidates for the post were required to have at least two years of residual service left at the time of application, but this conditions has been relaxed in order to open the race to all four MDs.

Only Bhattacharya would have been eligible for the post if the original criteria were applied. 

The retirement age at SBI is 60 years but this does not apply to the chairman.

“So a lot will depend on the interview. Seniority and age will not matter. The panel will only consider the performance of the individual candidates and their suitability for the position,” an official source, who did not wish to be identified, said.