After joining the boards of two leading companies, Wipro and Reliance Industries Limited, in October, former SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya is now ready to take on a new challenge. She has been appointed the chairman of SWIFT India Domestic Services, the local unit of SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) global, The Economic Times reported.
"The venture has a huge potential to contribute significantly to the financial community in many domains," Bhattacharya told the daily, confirming the development. SWIFT is a messaging network that facilitates international payments functions for financial institutions.
Bhattacharya will be stepping into outgoing chairman MV Nair's shoes. Nair, who was instrumental in forging the joint venture between SWIFT, and leading public and private sector banks in India and its launch in March 2014, will be retiring after about five years of heading SWIFT India.
Her new role comes at a time SWIFT India is taking on new challenges thrown up by rapid developments in the fintech space. Bhattacharya joined SBI in 1977 as a probationary officer and went on to become the first woman to head India's largest lender as Chairman in 2013. After a four-year stint at the helm, she retired from SBI in October last year, and after the mandatory one-year 'cooling off' period post retirement is back in action.
Bhattacharya is credited with supervising the merger of six associate banks with SBI-for which she received a one-year extension to her tenure as Chairman - and creating an entity three times larger than its nearest competitor. She also undertook several technology initiatives such as launching fully digital branches and wallet 'Buddy' during her tenure.