Sashidhar Jagdishan set to be next CEO of HDFC Bank; Aditya Puri’s successor joined back in 1996

Business & Economics

Jagdishan, a chartered accountant by profession, is a science graduate and has a Master’s degree in Economics of Money, Banking and Finance. He has over 29 years of experience in the banking industry

The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday approved the name of Sashishar Jagdishan as the next Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the HDFC Bank for three years. Jagdishan will succeed Aditya Puri, who will step down as the bank’s longest serving CEO after 26 years.

Puri had hinted at Jagdishan’s appointment last month at the bank’s annual general meeting.

“There has been a lot of talk about the successor not being with us for a long time. Our potential successor has been with us for 25 years. My successor was always in place, at least in my mind. It is now for RBI to decide,” Puri said at the bank’s recent AGM.

After the announcement, Puri told CNBC TV18, “Sashidhar is humane; he is motivational; he is a very thorough executor. He has the necessary skills. The best is yet to come for HDFC Bank.” Jagdishan will assume charge when Puri steps down on 26 October.

Jagdishan, a chartered accountant by profession, is a science graduate and has a Master’s degree in Economics of Money, Banking and Finance, according to the HDFC Bank website. He has over 29 years of experience in the banking industry.

He had joined the HDFC Bank in 1996 as a manager in the finance division. Rising through the ranks quickly, he went on to become the Business Head of the Finance division by 1999. He has since gone on to hold several key positions at the private sector bank.

Before his promotion as the next CEO of the private sector bank, Jagdishan held the position of Additional Director and Head of Finance and Human Resources. He was appointed as Chief Financial Officer in 2008, a post that he retained until August 2019.

After this, he was appointed as the ‘change agent’, apart from holding the finance function. He led the private bank’s response during the technological problems it faced in December last year, when HDFC’s net banking and mobile banking services went down for three consecutive days.

With over 29 years of experience, Jagdishan currently serves as the Group Head of Finance, Human Resources, Legal & Secretarial, Administration, Infrastructure, Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility.

“He has played a critical role in supporting the growth trajectory of the bank. He has led the finance function and played a pivotal role in aligning the organisation in achieving the strategic objectives over the years,” the bank’s website said.

Prior to joining the HDFC Bank, he was a Senior Officer in the Country Financial Control Division of Deutsche Bank, AG, Mumbai.

Till around August 2018, it was believed that Paresh Sukthankar, then deputy managing director of the bank, would succeed Puri. However, Sukthankar’s sudden exit from the bank left the succession question open-ended, a report said. Kaizad Bharucha, head of HDFC’s wholesale banking division, and Sunil Garg, of Citibank, were among the other candidates in race for the post, according to LiveMint.

Jagdishan will be taking over at a time when the banking industry is in the middle of a crisis following the coronavirus pandemic. About 9 percent of the HDFC Bank’s loan book is under moratorium as on 30 June.

In the retail loan portfolio, the auto loan portfolio has shrunk to Rs 81,082 crore from Rs 83,935 crore while the home loan portfolio declined to Rs 62,652 crore from Rs 63,445 crore. Two-wheeler loans shrank to Rs 9,568 crore from Rs 9,855 crore.

The bank has also recently seen three senior level exits – Abhay Aima (group head of private banking); Ashok Khanna (group head of secured vehicle loans); Munish Mittal (chief information officer).

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