The Union government has appointed R Sridharan, managing director of State Bank of India (SBI), as acting chairman. O P Bhatt retired from service today after a five-year tenure as chairman.
Sridharan, whose tenure in the bank is supposed to conclude in another four months, will not have financial decision-making powers. Nor is he eligible to be appointed as the successor to Bhatt, since the eligibility rules require at least two years of residual service.
Sridharan was appointed MD in December 2008 and was looking after associate banks and subsidiaries. He is a Madras University graduate and joined as a probationary officer in 1972. Before taking over as MD, Sridharan was deputy MD, looking after the non-banking subsidiaries. Earlier, he was MD and CEO of SBI Capital Markets, a subsidiary of SBI.
A search panel to select the new chairman had interviewed four Deputy MDs -- Hemant Contractor, Pratip Chaudhury, Diwakar Gupta and A Krishna Kumar.
SBI has two MD posts sanctioned, but the other one, S K Bhattacharyya, retired in October and the government is yet to finalise a replacement for him. With a recent amendment to the SBI Act, a provision has been created for having four MDs. The government is still in talks with the bank on possible domains for all.
There have been past instances when SBI was headed by an acting chairman. In 2006, when A K Purwar retired, T S Bhattacharya, one of the MDs, was given interim charge.