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Arundhati Bhattacharya becomes first woman to head State Bank of India

57-year-old Bhattacharya, the front-runner for the post on account of years of service left, was managing director and chief financial officer of the bank prior to her elevation.

twitter-logo PTI   Mumbai     Last Updated: October 7, 2013  | 19:23 IST
SBI gets its first woman chief in Arundhati Bhattacharya

Arundhati Bhattacharya has been appointed as chairperson of State Bank of India (SBI), the first woman to head the country's largest lender in its 207-year history.

57-year-old Bhattacharya, the front-runner for the post on account of years of service left, was managing director and chief financial officer of the bank prior to her elevation.

An statement from the lender said Bhattacharya assumed charge as the chairperson of the bank on Monday, succeeding Pratip Chaudhuri who retired on September 30.

Bhattacharya joined SBI as a probationary officer in 1977 and has had stints in areas such as retail, treasury and corporate finance during her 36-year career.

She has held various positions including Deputy Managing Director and Corporate Development Officer, Chief General Manager of the Bangalore circle and new businesses and head of its merchant banking arm, SBI Caps, the statement said. Bhattacharya also played an important role in setting up general insurance, custody services and SBI Macquarie Infrastructure Fund subsidiaries, it added.

She also had a stint at the bank's New York office as the head of external audit and correspondent relations, SBI said.

Her appointment comes at a time when the government is all set to open the country's first bank dedicated for women, Bhartiya Mahila Bank.

Bhattacharya joins other women heading public sector banks - Allahabad Bank (Shubhalakshmi Panse) and Bank of India (VR Iyer) and private sector banks - Chanda Kochhar of ICICI Bank, Shikha Sharma of Axis Bank and Naina Lal Kidwai of HSBC India.

SBI and its five subsidiaries today control over one-fifth of the nation's banking assets and is the 66th largest bank in the world.

The lender, which has a chairman/chairperson unlike other Public Sector Banks who have a combined post of CMD, has four MDs. Bhattacharya's elevation leaves one MD post vacant.

It also has over a dozen Deputy MDs and over 35 Chief General Managers (CGMs).

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