The Indian government has finally appointed the CEOs of 10 “head-less” public-sector banks


  • In June, the interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said that preparations were underway to fill 30 high-level roles at state-owned banks.
  • On 19 September, the government named the heads of 10 public-sector banks. Five of these people served as deputy MDs of State Bank of India.
  • Meanwhile, the RBI decided to limit the tenure of Rana Kapoor, the CEO of private sector lender Yes Bank, to 31 January 2019.
Not only have India’s public-sector banks had to contend with the lion’s share of the banking sector’s bad loans and a run of quarterly losses, but they have also faced a crisis of leadership as the CEO position at most of them have been lying vacant for the past few months.

This has translated into consistent lapses in governance and delays in strategic decisions on issues like restructuring. While Andhra Bank, Punjab & Sind Bank and Dena Bank have been “head-less” for nearly a year, the CEOs of Bank of Maharashtra and Allahabad Bank were removed from their positions earlier this year owing to allegations of corruption.

The Indian government has made a conscious effort to correct this. In June, the interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said that preparations were underway to fill 30 high-level roles at state-owned banks. At the time, Goyal said the appointments would be finalised within a month.

Now, two and a half months later, the appointments committee of Narendra Modi’s Cabinet has finally named the heads of 10 public-sector banks. And it looks they’ve played a game of musical chairs, choosing from the top ranks of these banks and switching people around. Five of these people served deputy managing directors at State Bank of India, the country’s largest bank.

Padmaja Chundru will take over the reins of Indian Bank, Pallav Mohapatra will lead Central Bank of India while Mrutyunjay Mahapatra and J Packirisamy will head Andhra Bank and Syndicate Bank, respectively. The government has also appointed Karnam Shekhar as the CEO of Dena Bank, which is slated to merge with Bank of Baroda and Vijaya Bank within a year.

In addition to the aforementioned appointments, Ashok Kumar Pradhan has been promoted from executive director (ED) of Andhra Bank to its CEO while the ED of Syndicate Bank, S S Mallikarjuna Rao, has been made the CEO of Allahabad Bank. Finally, A S Rajeev, the ED of Indian Bank, has been appointed the CEO of Bank of Maharashtra and Atul Kumar Goel, the ED of Union Bank of India, and S Harisankar, the ED of Allahabad Bank, will take over UCO Bank and Punjab and Sind Bank, respectively.

Meanwhile, as the government fills up vacancies at public sector banks, it is also opening them up at private sector ones. On 19 September, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gave Rana Kapoor, the CEO of Yes Bank, until 31 January to hang up his boots. Earlier this year, the RBI also refused to greenlight the re-appointment of Shikha Sharma as the CEO of Axis Bank.
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