Sukthankar's exit not linked to search for my successor: Aditya Puri

HDFC MD Aditya Puri
HDFC Bank’s Deputy Managing Director (DMD) Paresh Sukthankar's shock resignation on Friday has increased the talks of finding a successor for Managing Director (MD) Aditya Puri.

Sukthankar was considered the most likely successor to Puri, who retires in October 2020. Puri, while addressing a concall, said the exit was not linked to search for the MD's successor. He also said that he did not delve into the reason for the exit on Sukthankar’s request. "The board and I will put right people in place in 10-15 days," Puri said.

However, there wouldn’t be a role of DMD at HDFC Bank following Sukthankar’s exit. "The DMD role was created for Paresh Sukthankar valuing his contribution," said Puri.

Puri said Sukthankar was a contender for the post of MD but they were also looking at both internal and external choices. The bank still had internal candidates that it was considering for succeeding Puri, he said.

In the last few months, the HDFC Bank has been vocal about its succession plan, and how it wants a smooth transition. 

“The process (of finding my successor) will begin 18 months before the end of my term and my successor will be put 12 months before my term ends,” said Puri.

He said that Sukthankar's exit, though 'graceful', was a “shock and loss to the bank”, but added that the exit would not affect the daily functioning of the bank.

Puri also stressed how the management was not an indispensable part of the bank. “Seventy-five per cent of my succession is already baked in,” he said.

Currently, Sukthankar oversees the banks’ credit and risk management departments as well as finance and human resources. He was appointed to the post of deputy managing director in March 2017. He will be serving the 90-day notice period, effective from August 10," the bank said in a filing to the exchanges.

The private lender also said that it would focus on the India market as it wants to cement its position here.

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