Rajnish Kumar named new SBI chairman
The government has named Rajnish Kumar as new chairman of State Bank of India, the country's biggest bank. Kumar, who is currently a managing director with the bank, will serve a three-year term as chairman. He will succeed Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya whose tenure ends on Friday. Kumar's appointment comes amid an important transition period for SBI as it merges with its associate banks.
Kumar had joined the SBI in 1980 as a probationary officer and subsequently served in multiple departments. In 2015, he headed the bank's merchant banking arm, SBI Capital Markets, as managing director and CEO. Kumar edged out his fellow SBI MDs PK Gupta, B Sriram and Dinesh Kumar Khara, all of whom were interviewed by the Banks Board Bureau for the position of Chairman.
"He (Rajnish Kumar) has worked with me in the past. He is very well suited for the job. He will do very well," former SBI Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri told BloombergQuint following the news of Kumar's appointment as chairman.
Kumar replaces Arundhati Bhattacharya, SBI's first female Chairman. Bhattacharya's term is remembered for facing errant business tycoons, particularly by encouraging the government to pursue wilful defaulter Vijay Mallya. She also oversaw SBI's merger with five associate banks, turning it into one of the world's 50 largest banks. Her tenure also witnessed doubling of SBI's bad loans to 6% from 2.9% in 2013.