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State Bank of India chair given extension to drive overhaul
October 1, 2016 / 12:33 PM / a year ago

State Bank of India chair given extension to drive overhaul

Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman of the State Bank of India, poses with the company's logo at the bank's headquarters in Mumbai March 24, 2015. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India has given State Bank of India’s Arundhati Bhattacharya a one-year extension as chairman, the nation’s top lender by assets said, allowing her more time to lead a clean-up of bad assets and oversee a merger of affiliates.

Bhattacharya, 60, was due to complete her current three-year term on Oct. 6. The Indian government, which owns the majority of SBI, has extended her term for one year, effective on Oct. 7, the bank said in a filing on Saturday.

Bhattacharya is the first woman to lead the two-century old bank after climbing up through its ranks since joining in 1977.

She has won strong praise from investors at a time when state-run banks are being pressed by the central bank to clean up $120 billion in soured loans that had crimped credit growth.

SBI, which accounts for more than a fifth of India’s bank loans and deposits, is also in the process of taking over five of its subsidiaries and a niche bank for women to create a mega bank with assets of $447 billion.

Bhattacharya was named in the Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women, and there had been speculation that she was a candidate to replace Raghuram Rajan as Reserve Bank of India Governor, although that ultimately went to insider Urjit Patel.

Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Rafael Nam and Alexander Smith

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