The Reserve Bank of India has cleared the appointment of Sashidhar Jagdishan as MD & CEO of HDFC Bank. He will succeed Aditya Puri, who retires in October this year. Jagdishan (55), who has been with the bank since 1996, is a group head for several functions and was appointed “change agent” in 2019. He was the bank’s chief financial officer for over a decade.
HDFC Bank, in a statement on Tuesday, said the RBI had, in a letter dated August 3, approved the appointment of Jagdishan for three years from the date of his taking charge — October 27, 2020. The bank’s board will meet soon to approve the appointment.
“I fully recognise that Puri’s are huge shoes to fill. But I’m confident that with the support of my colleagues, the board, other stakeholders, and indeed God’s grace, I’ll be able to live up to the faith that Puri, the board, and the regulator have reposed in me. I’ll leave no stone unturned to carry forward the rich legacy,” said Jagdishan.
Jagdishan’s appointment signals continuity. He is widely seen as Puri’s choice given that the bank had recommended two internal names, Jagdishan and Kaizad Bharucha, who is already an executive director on the board of the bank. Sunil Garg, CEO of Citibank, was the external candidate.
Reacting to the appointment, Puri, the only CEO the bank ever had, said he was delighted that the bank is in safe hands with someone who has the right skills. “Sashi has been working with me for 24 years and far more intensively since he became the change agent. He is humane, he cares about people, he is motivational and people in the bank love him. We have a team where I was the first among equals. We now have a new first among equals who people respect,” said Puri.
“Sashi was the unanimous choice. There was no argument, discussion, or anything. Everyone agreed he was the first choice,” said Deepak Parekh, chairman of HDFC. “He is a good finance person and has been working very closely with Aditya Puri. International investors have interacted with him for many years and there is comfort all around. For such a big bank an insider is far better suited than a rank outsider. But because it is such a large organisation and listed in the NYSE, we thought let us do a global search and appointed Egon Zehender, who also decided he is the right candidate,” he said.
Jagdishan has been a part of HDFC Bank since 1996 and had joined from Deutsche Bank, Mumbai, where he was a senior officer in the country’s financial control division. He became business head (finance) in 1999 and was appointed as chief financial officer in 2008.
“Sashi brings to the table a rare combination of IQ and EQ. Given his understanding of the business, coupled with a strong people connect, we’re confident that he’ll take the bank to the next level,” said Shyamala Gopinath, chairperson, HDFC Bank.
The succession at the country’s second most valuable bank was widely tracked because HDFC Bank plays a dominant role in retail and is a market leader in several segments, including auto, cards and personal loans. Its performance affects most investors as besides its weightage in the sensex, it is a part of the portfolio of most mutual funds.