Arundhati Bhattacharya: First woman to head SBI

SBI head

Arundhati Bhattacharya took over as the chairperson of State Bank of India (SBI) on Monday, with a three-year tenure.

She is the youngest among the four managing directors of SBI and succeeds Pratip Chaudhuri, who retired as chairman on September 30.

Bhattacharya is the first woman to ever head SBI. She is a significant addition to the expanding list of women who are now leading financial institutions in the country.

The list includes Shikha Sharma (Axis Bank), Chanda Kochhar (ICICI Bank), Naina Lal Kidwai (HSBC), Vijayalakshmi R Iyer (Bank of India), Shubhalakshmi Panse (Allahabad Bank), Archana Bhargava (United Bank of India) and Kalpana Morparia (JP Morgan India).

Usha Ananthsubramanian is slated to take over as chief of India's first all-women bank.

Bhattacharya takes charge at a time when India's largest bank is fighting worsening asset quality.

As on June 30, gross non-performing assets at SBI stood at Rs 60,891 crore, a 29 per cent rise year on year.

In an interview with The Financial Express this year Bhattacharya had said, "Even companies that were doing well are not getting the kind of orders or the kind of business they needed in order to ensure that the stresses don't show. So, obviously, there is a concern on asset quality."

Her name was cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister this week.

Bhattacharya had joined SBI as a probationary officer in 1977.

During her tenure of 36 years with the State Bank of India, she has held a number of important positions including those of deputy managing director & corporate development officer, chief general manager (Bangalore circle) and chief general manager (new businesses) besides heading SBI Capital Markets Ltd.

Bhattacharya was also involved in setting up of SBI General Insurance and the SBI Macquarie Infrastructure Fund.

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