HDFC Bank deputy managing director Paresh Sukthankar, widely considered as a successor to MD and CEO Aditya Puri, has quit without citing any reasons. “We hereby inform you that Paresh Sukthankar has tendered his resignation as deputy managing director, to be effective 90 days from the close of business hours of today,” HDFC Bank said. The resignation caught bankers by surprise as he was the top contender for the CEO post.
Puri’s term will end in October 2020. In May, Puri had indicated that the management intends to start the process of identifying a successor 18-24 months ahead of his retirement. The bank plans to have a 12-month overlap period during which the new successor will work with Puri. The bank will look at talent, which could be internal or external, and an announcement will be made in next 18 months, Puri had said.
“The board of the bank places on record its sincere appreciation for the contribution made by Sukthankar in his long association with the bank and wishes him the very best in his future endeavours,” HDFC Bank said.
Sukthankar, who had earlier worked at Citibank for nine years, joined HDFC Bank in 1994 and played a key role in making the bank one of the top financial institutions in India. He currently has direct or supervisory responsibilities for the bank’s credit and risk management, finance, human resources functions and various strategic initiatives of the bank.
Sukthankar completed his Masters in Management Studies from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute, Mumbai and the Advanced Management Program from the Harvard Business School.
Meanwhile, speculation was rife that Sukthankar is likely to replace Shikha Sharma as MD and CEO of Axis Bank, the third largest private bank in the country. In July, the board of Axis Bank had recommended names of three candidates for the position of MD and CEO. The names have been recommended in order of preference for approval by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Axis Bank said in a stock exchange filing on July 11.
The candidate, as approved by the RBI, will succeed Sharma, whose term is due to expire on December 31, 2018. In April 2018, the proposed three-year term of Sharma was cut to seven months following the RBI’s directive to the board to reconsider her term. Sharma will now leave Axis Bank in December 2018.