NEW DELHI: The Banks Board Bureau and the government is looking to give an extension to Arundhati Bhattacharya, who completes her three-year tenure as chairman of the country’s largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI), in September.
Bhattacharya is the first woman chairperson of SBI in the bank’s 200-year history.
The bank is going through a “crucial phase”, and is gearing up to take over its subsidiaries and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank. Bhattacharya, who has been the driving force behind the bank’s expansion in the last three years, is likely to stay at the helm for a few more months to ensure a smooth transition, sources said.
A final decision would be taken only after two months, based on a thorough assessment of the situation. However, no “outsider” will be brought in to head the bank, an official source who did not wish to be identified told HT.
“Extension (of Bhattacharya) will be considered..there is no decision on the issue as yet and only preliminary talks have been held,” the source added. “She has been dynamic in her performance and has managed things very well, especially at a time when the industry is going through a tough phase with non-performing assets (NPAs) surging to alarming levels.”
In February, during the announcement of the bank’s third-quarter results, Bhattacharya had signalled that she would continue to head SBI. “Don’t worry, I am here to stay,” she had said then.
Bhattacharya is known for being vocal against wilful defaulters, including Vijay Mallya, promoter of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
She will bag “a respectable and responsible” position even after her innings with SBI, said the source quoted above.
Last week, SBI reported a 66% fall in net profit to Rs1,264 crore during the January-March quarter of 2015-16, against Rs3,742 crore in the same period of the previous fiscal, as surging NPAs — loans that do not yield returns — weighed on the country’s largest bank.
Anshula Kant, chief financial officer (CFO), SBI, Dinesh Khara, MD and CEO, SBI Mutual Fund, and PK Gupta, MD, SBI, are also being considered for the top post at the lender.