Arundhati Bhattacharya, who took over as the new chairperson of the State Bank of India (SBI) on Monday, is the first woman to be appointed to the top job at the country’s largest lender. She succeeds Pratip Chaudhuri who retired on September 30.
Ms. Bhattacharya, who has been Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer since August 2013, will hold the office for three years.
Her elevation came after the glass ceiling was broken in 1996, when Tarjani Vakil took over as head of Exim Bank. Vakil’s appointment was followed by Ranjana Kumar, who was appointed Chairman and Managing Director of Indian Bank.
In recent years, Indian banking has seen a few more woman heads. Shubhalakshmi Panse, Vijaylakshmi R. Iyer and Archana Bhargav are heading Allahabad Bank, Bank of India and United Bank of India, respectively. In the private sector, Chanda Kochhar and Shikha Sharma now head ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, respectively. At the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Shyamala Gopinath, K. J. Udeshi and Usha Thorat have all been deputy governors. Ms. Bhattacharya joined SBI as a direct recruit officer in 1977. With over three decades of experience, she has held various assignments spanning credit, forex, treasury and retail operations.