Sashidhar Jagdishan, a banker who rose through the ranks over nearly 25 years

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2 min read. Updated: 04 Aug 2020, 10:52 PM IST Shayan Ghosh

It remains to be seen how Jagdishan steers HDFC Bank’s Massive loan book of over ₹10 trillion

MUMBAI : With the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) clearing his appointment as the next chief executive of HDFC Bank, Sashidhar Jagdishan, has reached the pinnacle of his career.

As someone who has risen up the ranks, Sashi, as he is known, is well grounded. He joined the bank in 1996 as a manager in the finance division, and went on to become the finance head in 1999. Subsequently, he was appointed as the chief financial officer of HDFC Bank in 2008.

Experts seem to take solace in the fact that an internal candidate will maintain the continuity in the bank’s approach, driven by targets and a constant endeavour to outperform peers. A senior consultant who did not wish to be named said that this appointment gives the institution a much better chance to continue doing well, despite external challenges.

At the annual general meeting last month, the bank’s CEO Aditya Puri had said that his successor was with the bank for 25 years. Interestingly, both Jagdishan and executive director Kaizad Bharucha worked with the bank for close to 25 years, having joined in February 1996 and October 1995, respectively.

After graduating in physics, Jagdishan pursued his master’s degree in economics, before becoming a chartered accountant by profession.

Industry watchers said the new chief executive’s task is cut out for him, as he joins at a time when the covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy. Estimates by the central bank pegs the rise in bad loans at 400 basis points (bps) in FY21. In such an environment, it remains to be seen how Jagdishan steers the bank’s massive loan book of over ₹10 trillion.

According to the banking consultant quoted above, since Jagdishan was a finance executive and not quite into operations, the challenge for him will be to adapt to his new role, which demands a more rounded approach. “This is not only HDFC’s problem, we saw this in a few other private lenders where the existing leadership did not prepare the second rung of executives for such roles,” the consultant added.

While he has not been in business roles at HDFC Bank, his expertise in heading the finance division could work in his favour. Hemindra Hazari, an independent banking analyst, said of all the candidates for the CEO’s role, Jagdishan has the overall grasp of the bank, being in finance and MIS (management information system), besides being the eyes and ears of Puri. “(However,) it would have been better if he was put in charge of some of the important business verticals to get a direct grasp of managing the business.”

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