One in three public sector banks without CEO

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New Delhi, Aug 8: The top job remains vacant at one in three public sector banks (PSBs) as the Prime Minister-led panel is yet to finalise appointments. Three PSBs have not had a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for over seven months. The Appointment Committee of Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, takes the final call on appointments.
With over half a dozen vacancies arising in FY19, the Banks Board Bureau (BBB) said it would expedite the process of selecting candidates. Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal also reiterated the government’s push to fill vacancies at the corner offices in PSBs, even as public trust in these institutions have taken a beating following reports of largesse and scams reported at some of the oldest nationalised banks.
Goyal said the BBB has already interviewed around 20 executive director (ED) rank officers for the post of CEO at these banks. The selection criteria has been revised to allow top executives at private banks to also apply. Besides vacancies for the top job, around 19 ED posts will fall vacant this year, for which 40 general manager-rank candidates were interviewed in June.
Punjab & Sind Bank, Andhra Bank and Dena Bank have been without a CEO since January. Rajeev Rishi of Central Bank of India and Rakesh Sharma of Canara Bank retired on July 31, taking the tally of such vacancies to seven. Bank of Baroda CEO PS Jayakumar’s tenure ends in August. The bank has not granted him an extension yet and neither has a replacement been found. There are 21 PSBs in the country.
However, with the banking sector under a cloud over mounting non-performing assets (NPAs) and misdemeanours on the part of bank employees resulting in cases of fraud, top bankers have also been booked for oversight and direct collusion.
Bank of Maharashtra CEO R Marathe was stripped of his responsibilities for violating lending norms while sanctioning funds to a real estate developer. In May, Allahabad Bank CEO Usha Anathasubramanian was removed from her post after being charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation. She was found to have been culpable in the Nirav Modi scam.
Despite Goyal’s assurance that vacancies will be filled up at the earliest, personnel recommendations by the BBB remain unheeded. Anshula Kant’s appointment as Managing Director of State Bank of India is yet to come into effect. A leadership vacuum at PSBs could affect decision making in the run up to the festive season, a period of credit growth for lenders.