By BS Reporter
State Bank of India Deputy Managing Director Pratip Chaudhuri is likely to replace incumbent Chairman O P Bhatt when he retires in March 2011 after completing his five-year term. The finance ministry has cleared Chaudhuri for the top job at the countryâ€™s largest bank. The selection is subject to approval by the appointments committee of the Cabinet and the Prime Minister.
Chaudhuri, who is also group executive of international banking at the state-run lender, was actually interviewed for the managing directorâ€™s post earlier this month, along with three other deputy managing directors: Hemant Contractor (head of corporate & wholesale banking), K Krishna Kumar (head of IT), and Diwakar Gupta (head of rural & national banking).
The four were also candidates to the top job at SBI. A search committee headed by Reserve Bank of India Governor D Subbarao shortlisted the names of Chaudhuri and Contractor for the post. With the selection of Chaudhuri as SBI chairman, Contractor, Gupta and Kumar will be made managing directors.
SBI will have four managing directors, following a recent amendment to the SBI Act, which increased the number of posts. At present, SBI has only one Managing Director, R Sridharan, after S K Bhattacharya retired in October. Sridharan is due to retire in June.
Sources said the government wanted to select a person with at least two years of residual service for the chairmanâ€™s post. Chaudhuri, 56, with his rich experience in banking, fit the eligibility criteria. Just like Bhatt, he also joined SBI as a probationary officer in 1974. He took charge as deputy managing director & group executive (international banking) of SBI in April 2009.
Prior to his current assignment, he was posted as chief general manager (foreign offices) in Mumbai. During a career spanning over 35 years with SBI group, Chaushuri has held several key positions.