Axis Bank panel kicks off hunt for next CEO

Axis Bank panel kicks off hunt for next CEO

Mumbai, Apr 11: With the Axis Bank board having just eight months to find a replacement for Shikha Sharma, speculation is rife over possible candidates for the CEO’s post. Over half a dozen potential names are doing the rounds even though a board sub-committee is yet to shortlist possible CEO candidates.
Goldman Sachs India chairman Sonjoy Chatterjee, KKR country head Sanjay Nayar, former Deutsche Bank Asia-Pacific chief Gunit Chadha and Citigroup India CEO Pramit Jhaveri are in the rumoured list of external probables for the top job.
Chatterjee was one of the candidates for ICICI Bank CEO position when K V Kamath retired in 2009. Chadha is said to be finalising a Rs 350-crore fund-raising for his proposed NBFC and will have to abandon plans if he takes up an offer on being approached by Axis Bank. The name of Citigroup’s Jhaveri had been speculated as a possible successor in the past as well. The names of internal candidates which have cropped up are Rajiv Anand, executive director and head of retail, and Rohit Bhagat, an independent director and former chief operating officer of Blackrock Institutional Trust Company. The reasoning behind having a retail person head the bank is that the segment is expected to be a key growth area.
Axis Bank’s deputy managing director V Srinivasan had earlier expressed his desire to take on new challenges. There is a likelihood he might also be considered for the CEO position.
A sub-committee of the board is understood to have initiated the process of successor search, but potential candidates haven’t been formally approached. Although the board has approved the shorter tenure up to December 2018, the timelines will have to be submitted to the RBI for approval. There is a likelihood that the RBI might ask the board to hasten the process to get enough time to ensure that the candidate meets the central bank’s “fit & proper” norms.
Axis Bank’s board is not the only one busy with CEO appointments. The board of Yes Bank will meet on April 26 to consider another three-year term for the bank’s promoter CEO Rana Kapoor. Meanwhile, Bandhan Bank has approved a three-year extension for its CEO Chandra Shekhar Ghosh until July 2021.