Yes!!! That was the reaction to Ranveer Gill being appointed at the new CEO of Yes Bank. A veteran banker and currently the head of Deutsche Bank, India, the Yes Bank could not have made a better choice.
In fact 2018 saw two new appointments - Amitabh Chaudhry as MD and CEO of Axis Bank and Sandeep Bakshi took over as the chief of ICICI Bank after Chanda Kochhar stepped down.
The other two private banks, HDFC Bank and IndusInd Bank will have to start looking for their CEO. The MD and CEO of IndusInd Bank, Ramesh Sobti ends in March 2020 and that of HDFC Bank, Aditya Puri, ends in Oct 2020. Paresh Sukhtankar, deputy MD at HDFC Bank was to take over the reins from Puri; at least that is what was widely believed. But Sukhtankar left and now its up in the air. But HDFC Bank is one of the few banks which stated that it has succession plans well in place.
In Sept’18, the Govt finally filled up positions of 10 CEOs in PSU banks. Five of the 10 MDs and CEOs were working as deputy managing directors in SBI.
LIC currently has no Chairman – an interim Chairman, LIC’s senior-most MD, Hemant Bhargava has been appointed. Interview for new Chairman was conducted on 4th Jan; we are yet to know who will fill this top notch position. As in the case of State Bank of India (SBI), LIC top appointments are always from within the organisation.
In 2020, some 50,000 middle management and senior management level personnel are retiring. The onus lay on Banks Board Bureau (BBB), whose primary duty is to fill up the fast rising vacancies in PSU banks, including that of CEOs.
The problem in PSU banks is that though seniority is a big criteria, the bank itself does nothing to groom them. Right from the junior level, why aren’t the employees taught to take on higher responsibilities? Only my job – that’s the attitude which is carried onwards as a CEO also, which in turn explains why PSU CEOs are not really bothered about bringing in a change or becoming a legend in that way. We have a Deepak Pareikh or Naina Lal or Aditya Puri but why no PSU CEO has made a name like this? It all once again boils down to the attitude; as long as they feel, “ I don’t care what happens once I retire” there will be only chaos. Yes, the blame lay on the Trade Unions too who do not allow freedom in recruitment, placement, transfer and promotions but maybe the education needs to begin from there?
The problem is also the tenure – the CEO of a PSU bank has a tenure of three years and that is really not enough time to bring about any change or transformation. Lateral recruitment should be encouraged where private sector CEOs should become PSU bank CEOs as they will bring in a completely new perspective.
Be it the private sector or PSU bank, the hunt now should be for leaders who lead with more accountability, where long term health of the balance sheet is more important than shirt term achievement of targets. The Banking sector needs a complete rebuild, in the way in which CEOs conduct the business of banking. Do we have that talent? Maybe the private sector has but PSU Banks? If it is only hiring from within, what change could we possibly see?