NEW DELHI: India's banking sector is burdened with not only non-performing assets but also non-performing leaders, and the government is struggling to find replacements for more than a dozen executive directors and CEOs who either face corruption charges or have been tagged for non-performance.
“The banking sector is facing a serious leadership crisis. The sector is looking for replacements for six officials of the rank of CEO and managing director and over 10 people of the rank of executive director. Most of these leaders are either accused of corruption or as non-performer,” a senior official from the Banking Board Bureau said.
While the official did not name anyone, among the obvious names are Usha Ananthasubramanian, CEO and MD, Allahabad Bank, who was named by the CBI in the charge sheet filed in the Nirav Modi case. The board has divested her of executive powers.
On Monday, Rajiv Kumar, secretary, Department of Financial Services (DFS), said the government had asked the Bureau to look for her replacement as soon as possible.
Two other names are Kishore Kharat, CMD and CEO of Indian Bank, and MO Rego, MD and CEO of Syndicate Bank. Their names have cropped up in the IDBI fraud case. The bureau is also seeking replacements for PNB executive directors Rajiv Sharan and KV Brahmaji Rao, who have been linked to the Nirav Modi case, and Subroto Gupta, executive director of IDBI, linked to the IDBI fraud case.
“Corruption is not the only issue. Bank is also looking for replacement for non-performing executives responsible for bloating NPAs. In coming days, the tenure of two more bank heads will be cut short, over NPA,” the official added.
Shikha Sharma, MD and CEO of Axis Bank, was the first victim of the rising NPAs issue, and RBI refused to extend her tenure, curtailing it from three years to just seven months. But the newly constituted Board is having a tough time finding the right candidates.
“Finding replacements is a challenge, given the involvement of CEOs, chairmen and executive directors in a host of banking frauds. We have to pick candidates very diligently,” the official said.
This year, former UCO Bank chairman Arun Kaul was booked by the CBI in a corruption case. Other former chairman and CEOs whose were involved in corruption cases were MS Raghavan (IDBI Bank), Yogesh Agarwal (IDBI Bank) PS Shenoy (Bank of Baroda), Archana Bhargava (United Bank of India) among others.
Even name of Chanda Kochhar, CEO and MD of ICICI Bank was linked it to a possible quid pro quo in loan given to Videocon group promoter Venugopal Dhoot, who was doing business with her husband by Deepak Kochchar.
■ At least 16 top officials in banks are either accused of corruption or have performed poorly
■ Banking Board Bureau is looking for replacements for the officials
■ The officials set to be replaced are accused of involvement in bank frauds and of failure to check bloating NPAs