Meet Prashant Kumar, SBI veteran asked to steer Yes Bank in rough seas

Prashant Kumar, former SBI CFO & administrator of Yes bank | Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar
With just a few months remaining in his last assignment of managing the books of the country's largest bank, Prashant Kumar was preparing for a life beyond State Bank India. Destiny, however, had something else in store for Kumar, when the Reserve Bank of India appointed him administrator of Yes Bank, which is under moratorium.

Was this assignment a reward for the critical role he played in making SBI’s balance sheet healthy and for the effective integration of six banks with SBI? Perhaps.

His blend of experience as chief development officer and head of the human resource function since January 2017, and in managing the bank's balance sheet as chief financial officer from September 2018, would come handy. More so for repairing the books and dealing with issues of confidence-building at YES Bank, whose staff is severely strained.

SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar, whose backing will shape YES Ban's future, asserted that Prashant Kumar was a very competent banking professionals and that there couldn't have better choice for the job of administrator.

He has the support of multiple war rooms at YES Bank’s headquarters at Indiabulls Finance Centre in Parel (Mumbai) to quickly resolve operational issues, not the leasgt among which is infusing liquidity. Normalising operations and bringing capital by next weekend are top priorities, one SBI executive said

All this is going to mean quite lot of legal work – clearing a raft of complex documents and paperwork. His legal qualification (LLB), should come in handy for Kumar who has all-rounded experience, including retail, since he joined SBI in 1983.  

His mettle was tested in the field while leading the Kolkata circle as chief General Manager and as general manager in the erstwhile Maharashtra and Goa circle. Later he moved to corporate headquarters on promotion as deputy managing director.  

Going by the RBI notification, his task as administrator will last no more than 30 days. But that is just beginning, and his current engagement may morph into the job of chief executive and managing director for a medium term of, say, three years. While there is no formal word yet on his future post April 3 (the day the moratorium expires), some understanding apparently exists between SBI and RBI on his continuation. In fact, his hands may be strengthened if some SBI group officials are sent to the ailing bank.

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