HDFC Bank recasts panel to find Puri's successor; Mistry replaced by Karnad

Topics HDFC Bank | Aditya Puri

HDFC Bank | Photo: Shutterstock

HDFC Bank has reconstituted the search panel instituted to find the successor to Aditya Puri, the managing director and chief executive of the 25-year-old private sector lender, the private lender informed the bourses on Wednesday.

Keki Mistry has been replaced by Renu Karnad of the bank's parent HDFC in the search panel. Mistry leaves the board of the bank after completing eight consecutive years as a director -- the maximum tenure that regulation allows.

Puri, who built HDFC Bank from scratch since its inception in 1994 and made it the second largest lender with more than Rs 9 lakh crore assets, is the highest paid banker in the country and is retiring on October 26, 2020.

Puri succession is keenly watched by the industry as the new person will have to fill in a very large shoe, given the way Puri has built the bank that commands the highest premium among the banking stocks across the world and also the best asset quality among the all omestic lenders.

Speculation is intense on whether the bank will pick an internal or an external candidate.

On November 28, 2019, the bank had set up a six-member panel to find a successor to Puri who turns 70 on October 26, 2020.

Weeks into the appointment of the search panel, the bank had roped in international headhunting firm Egon Zehnder to assist the panel identify the right candidate.

The reconstituted search panel drops Keki Mistry, representing the parent HDFC and is replaced by Renu Karnad of the largest mortgage lender, the bank informed the exchanges this evening.

The filing attributed the exclusion of Mistry, who is the vice-chairman, managing director and chief executive of HDFC from the panel to "the cessation of his (Mistry's) directorship from the boardof the bank and Karnad'sappointment as an additional non-executive director on the board of the bank."

HDFC Bank in a separate filing said that Karnad has been appointed as Additional Non-Executive Director -- nominee of promoter Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited - on the board of the bank.

Aditya Puri shall continue to act as advisor to the search committee, a position he held in the original panel as well, the filing said.

Karnad is the joint managing director at the mortgage major.

The other members of the panel include Shyamala Gopinath who is also the chairman of the bank, Sanjiv Sachar, MD Ranganath, Sandeep Parekh and Srikanth Nadhamuni.

The bank's number two position fell vacant after Paresh Sukthankar, the deputy managing director who was considered as a front-runner to succeed Puri, put in his papers last year.

At the annual general meeting in 2019, Puri had said that his replacement should be better than him and should not require 18 months handholding for the job.

Industry is keenly watching the succession as Puri, hired by HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh from Citibank to start HDFC Bank in 1994, steps down in October after creating a behemoth with a market value of Rs 6.3 lakh crore as of today having scaled past Rs 7.5 lakh crore in recent past.

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