NEW DELHI: State Bank of India managing director Dinesh Kumar Khara could not have asked for a better birthday gift.
On the day he turned 59, the Bank Board Bureau, the selection panel for top jobs at state-run lenders, recommended Khara as its first choice candidate to succeed Rajnish Kumar as the bank’s chairman. Kumar is due to retire in October and was tipped to be getting an extension, although the possibility is not completely ruled out.
Following interviews, BBB headed by former union personnel secretary Bhanu Pratap Sharma, has also said that C S Setty, another MD at the country’s largest bank, is the second option. Setty will have a second shot at the top job after Khara retires.
A final decision on Khara’s candidature will be taken by the appointments committee of cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
SBI chairman’s post is the most coveted job in the financial services sector, given that the bank controls around a quarter of lending and deposits business in the country. Unlike the other state-run lenders, the job is the monopoly of SBI employees who join as a probationary officer and rise through the ranks.
In 1984, Khara too started out as a probationary officer after graduating in commerce. He also holds an MBA degree from Delhi University’s Faculty of Management Studies. An officer of the Delhi circle, he has held various posts and also headed the Bhopal circle. He has also had a stint in Chicago and oversaw the merger of five associates and Bhartiya Mahila Bank with SBI. He was also the head of SBI Mutual Fund and SBI General. At SBI MF, Khara is credited with ramping up the business and helping scale up the asset management business, which had been stagnating for close to a decade.
He took over as an MD of SBI in August 2016 and was given a two-year extended term. He is currently the senior most MD.
Khara has his task cut out as banks will have to grapple with a massive pile of bad debt in the coming months and yet ensure that businesses are not starved of credit.