2 RBI deputy guv posts empty, govt in search mode

Controversy-prone, KC Chakrabarty shocks many with his surprise decision

GN Bureau | March 21, 2014


In over three decades of service, KC Chakrabarty was CMD of Punjab National Bank and Indian Bank.
In over three decades of service, KC Chakrabarty was CMD of Punjab National Bank and Indian Bank.

“Deputy governors never retire,” Dr KC Chakrabarty had quipped when Governance Now asked him about his post-retirement plans in an interview this February. But it looks like he had already made his plans.

Chakrabarty, arguably the most vociferous and noticeable deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, did what he does best – he sprang another surprise by putting in his papers  on Thursday (March 20), with only three months remaining for his term to end, for "personal reasons".

According to speculation, Chakrabarty is likely to take up an assignment abroad. He will serve his post at the apex bank till April-end.

While search for his successor was already in process, considering his term was to end in July, the process will now have to be quickened with the surprise announcement. Those in the fray include various public sector bank CMDs, including KR Kamath (Punjab National Bank), M Narendra (Indian Overseas Bank), RK Dubey (Canara Bank) and SS Mundra (Bank of Baroda).

The grapevine is also abuzz with the name of Dr Nachiket Mor being fielded for the post, but the idea was reportedly shot down by the finance ministry.

Speaking to Governance Now, a source from RBI said, “The move was a well-thought one and RBI governor Raghuram Rajan had been kept in the loop right from the beginning.”

(Also read: Private, foreign banks have better DNA to innovate: KC Chakrabarty)

With Chakrabarty’s exit, RBI has only two deputy governors at the moment out of four such posts. Fellow RBI deputy governor Anand Sinha had retired in January this year. Of the four deputy governors of RBI, two are insiders, a third is an economist while another comes from public sector banks.

Appointed as RBI deputy governor in June 2009 for a three-year term, Chakrabarty was later given a two-year extension till 2014. He was responsible for various areas, including supervision of banks, currency management, financial stability, customer service, rural credit and human resource management.

Known for calling a spade a spade without fretting over repercussions, Chakrabarty’s tenure was, perhaps expectedly, not without its share of controversies. A lot of his comments have landed the apex bank in trouble and he was reportedly "asked" not to make comments on interest rates, etc.

In more than three decades in the banking sector, Chakrabarty had served as chairman and managing director of two public sector banks – Punjab National Bank and Indian Bank. He was also chairman of Mumbai-based Indian Banks' Association (IBA) for a brief period.

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