State Bank of India (SBI) managing director B Sriram may be headed to IDBI Bank as its interim chief, signalling the government’s resolve to ensure that the lender, which is grappling with 28% of its loans turning into non-performing assets, does not remain headless at this crucial juncture.
Sriram was in contention for SBI chairman as well as the RBI deputy governor’s job and the government is keen to ensure that he is adequately compensated. Sources said the finance ministry is seeking a clearance from the Cabinet’s appointments committee to name him as the interim chief in place of M K Jain, who was appointed as RBI’s deputy governor.
Simultaneously, the government has begun the process of selecting managing director and chief executives of several other state-run lenders, some of which have remained headless for six months or so. The list includes Punjab & Sind Bank, Andhra Bank and Dena Bank. Vacancies are due to arise in several other banks including Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda, Indian Bank and Syndicate Bank.
In addition, the government needs to find a replacement for Allahabad Bank MD & CEO Usha Ananthasubramanian, whose powers have been taken away by the board after she was chargesheeted in the $2-billion fraud at Punjab National Bank, which was allegedly orchestrated by Nirav Modi-Mehul Choksi. Ananthasubramanian was the PNB MD till she was moved to Allahabad Bank, allegedly due to non-performance.
The Banks Board Bureau has started the process to appoint new executive directors at state-run banks, with several general managers being interviewed for the jobs.