Axis Bank has shortlisted three candidates to succeed its MD and CEO Shikha Sharma - whose term is due to expire in December, 2018. In a regulatory filing, the bank informed that the Board of Directors of Axis Bank at its meeting held on July 9, 2018 has recommended the names of three candidates for the approval of the Reserve Bank of India. The bank, however, did not disclose names of the candidates shortlisted for the post.
While the bank has so far not revealed the names, some of the names that are doing the rounds are PS Jayakumar - MD and CEO of Bank of Baroda, and Pramit Jhaveri- CEO of Citibank India. Axis Bank will soon submit its application in respect of the recommendations relating to the appointment for the approval of the RBI.
PS Jayakumar is a career banker and has spent over 23 years in Citibank in India and Singapore starting in 1986. He was associated with the first asset securitisation in India in 1991 and the first multi-lingual biometric ATM for the financially excluded in 2006.
Pramit Jhaveri joined Citi India in 1987 and his 31 years of banking experience spans across multiple areas of the industry. He is on the Managing Committee of the Indian Banks Association and is a Director on the Board of the Pratham Education Foundation.
Axis Bank's head hunting for CEO began after it cut short Shikha Sharma's reappointment period till the end of December 2018. In July 2017, the Axis Bank Board had reappointed Sharma as CEO for three years starting June 1, 2018. However, the RBI wrote back to the board asking it to reconsider the decision - a move that was believed to be taken after the financials of the bank worsened under her watch. Sharma had completed her third term as MD and CEO of Axis Bank on May 31.
The RBI addressed the letter to Axis Bank chairman Sanjiv Misra and gave its reasons for a review. These included the bank's performance and its deteriorating asset quality. Axis Bank's NPAs jumped by over five-fold over two years. The gross NPAs worth Rs 4,110 crore at the end of March 2015 surged to Rs 21,280 crore at the end of March 2017.
During the same period, the lender's net profit halved from Rs 7,357.8 crore to Rs 3,679.2 crore. Axis Bank has seen its gross bad loans ratio rise to 5.04 per cent as of March 2017 up from 0.96 per cent in March 2009, when Sharma took charge.
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