The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the selection of “insider” Sashidhar Jagdishan as the managing director and chief executive officer of HDFC Bank, India’s largest private sector bank. Jagdishan was the first name in a list of three candidates sent by the bank’s board to the RBI for its final approval. He had the strong backing of retiring MD and CEO Aditya Puri, sources said. Kaizad Bharucha, executive director and head of wholesale banking at HDFC Bank, was the next choice and Sunil Garg, global CEO of Citi Commercial Bank, was third.
“A meeting of the board of directors of the bank will be convened in due course to approve the appointment of Jagdishan as the MD and CEO of the bank in place of Aditya Puri, who is due to retire as MD of the bank on October 26, 2020,” it said in an exchange filing.
“I’m humbled by this. I fully recognise that Puri’s are huge shoes to fill. But I’m confident that with the support of my colleagues, the board, other stakeholders, and indeed God’s grace, I’ll be able to live up to the faith that Puri, the board, and the regulator have reposed in me,” Jagdishan said.
Reclusive and media-shy, Jagdishan is seen as hard working, methodical, meticulous and stickler for discipline, who reaches office by 8 am.
A chartered accountant with Master’s degree in Economics of Money, Banking & Finance from the University of Sheffield, UK, he was appointed chief financial officer in 2008 and currently he is the group head of finance, human resources, legal & secretarial, administration, infrastructure, corporate communications, corporate social responsibility & the strategic change agent of the bank.
“He has been the link between the CEO and the business heads over the last two years and has been the strategist and executioner both,” said a source. “Sashidhar has tremendous opportunity to build on the lead the bank has taken in last two decades and remain an example and envy of every single banker in India,” said Raamdeo Agrawal, chairman, Motilal Oswal Financial Services.
Known to be strong at execution, people who have worked with him say that “he can get into amazing level of detailing and is very methodical about his approach when it comes to executing any task assigned to him.”
While the finance division of the bank reported to former deputy MD of the bank Paresh Sukthankar, he has been working directly with Puri over the last couple of years and has been travelling with him. Some feel he was being groomed for the role for which the RBI has finally picked him.
The appointment of an insider has come as a breather to employees, who feel that Jagdishan’s appointment will lead to a “smooth transition and put at rest any anxiety among the employees’ had over the next leader,” said an official with the bank, adding that he is known to be a soft-spoken people’s man.
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