The Banks Board Bureau (BBB) has initiated the process selecting the next Chairman of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) which manages assets worth more than Rs 28.45 lakh crore.
BBB, headed by Bhanu Pratap Sharma, former Union Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training, has invited eight officials for interviews for the posts of Chairman and MD of the largest financial institution in the country on January 4. The tenure of current LIC Chairman VK Sharma will end on December 31, 2018.
The eight candidates called for the interview are: Vipin Anand, Zonal Manager, Mumbai, K Ganesh, ED, Customer Relationship Management, Mukesh Kumar Gupta, ED, Personnel, M R Kumar, Zonal Manager, Delhi, HS Shashi Kumar, Zonal Manager, Bhopal, Raj Kumar, CEO of LC Mutual Fund, TC Susheel Kumar, Zonal Manager, Hyderabad and S Nallakuttalam. All the eight officials are currently in the Executive Director grade heading different segments of LIC.
LICs three MDs will retire in 2019 — Sunita Sharma in March 2019, B Venugopal in May 2019 and Hemant Bhargava in July 2019. The government has not yet filled the vacancy of fourth MD after Usha Sangwan retired on September 30, 2018. BBB is likely to finalise the Chairman and one MD post next week. As in the case of State Bank of India (SBI), LIC top appointments are always from within the organisation.
BBB, in a letter dated December 28, asked the LIC Chairman to inform the eight officials to appear for interviews.
Change in the helm as bond markets face huge volatility
The life insurance sector seems to have a tough period ahead. Market leader LIC’s first-year premiums have shrunk by 7.9 per cent in the first eight months of the fiscal year over the same period of last year. With capital and bond markets facing huge volatility ahead of general elections, the new Chairman, who will be selected by the Bank Board Bureau for the first time, will have to put his best foot forward to deliver good returns for the stakeholders.
K Ganesh, MR Kumar and Vipin Anand belong to 1983 batch of LIC while the rest are from the 1984 batch. Except Ganesh, the other candidates have residual services of two years and would compete for both the posts of chairman and managing director.
In the last 15 years, the government has followed the principle of seniority while appointing the chairman of the corporation but sometimes superseded senior officials while appointing its MDs.
This is for the first time that BBB, which has been formed in 2014 by the Modi government, to select the MD and CEOs and non-executive chairmen for the PSU banking industry, will be involved in selecting top officials of the LIC.
Recently, the government had constituted a seven-member panel, headed by BBB chairman Sharma, including Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar, Dept of Public Enterprises Secretary Seema Bahuguna, IRDA Chairman and three insurance sector experts to select chairman and managing directors of public sector insurance companies.
One area of concern for the corporation is that the total benefits paid out grew by nearly 18 per cent to about Rs 1,97,600 crore. However, the total income at nearly Rs 5,14,000 crore grew only at six per cent.
During the year 2017-18, the corporation settled claims of over 2.66 crore claimants for an amount of Rs 1.11 lakh crore.