Rajnish Kumar
Rajnish KumarYoutube screenshot

The government has named Rajnish Kumar as the new chairman of State Bank of India (SBI) for a three-year term. Kumar will succeed Arundhati Bhattacharya as her term as the SBI chairperson comes to an end this week. 

Currently, Kumar holds the position of managing director, national banking group at SBI. Another person who is a close contender for the post was said to be PK Gupta, also a managing director of the bank.  

Back in 1980, Kumar had joined SBI as a probationary officer and worked in various departments. Before becoming the MD in 2015, Kumar was serving as the managing director and CEO of the merchant banking arm of the bank, SBI Capital Markets.

The Banks Board Bureau had interviewed all four SBI managing directors -- Rajnish Kumar, PK Gupta, B Sriram and Dinesh Kumar Khar -- for the top position, the Economic Times reported.

In 2013, Arundhati Bhattacharya was appointed as the first woman chairman of SBI. Currently, Bhattacharya is on a one-year extension primarily to maintain smooth transition after the merging of associate banks and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank in April.

As the banking sector is reeling under the pressure of bad loans, the new head of the bank will have to lead it through the ongoing resolution of stress assets and should also ensure that policy and decision supports growth by accelerating lending.

Experts believe that although bad loans are seen as a systemic risk, credit growth is a key element in India's economic revival strategy.