Seven jobs in finance up for grabs in new year

IRDA Chairman

In a little over a month from now, Hari Narayan J chairman of Irda (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority), who got into a spat with Sebi over two years ago to safeguard the interests of insurance companies and policyholders will complete his three-year term.

The former civil servant is credited with having carried out reforms in the life insurance sector by unveiling tougher norms on unit-linked plans and pension products. TS Vijayan, the former chairman of LIC, chairman of LIC DK Mehrotra, secretary of IT and communications R Chandrasekhar and petroleum secretary GC Chaturvedi are candidates who may succeed Hari Narayan.

SBI Chairman

This is the top job in the local banking sector. The chairman of the State Bank of India Pratip Chaudhuri, who has strived hard to clean up the bank’s balance sheet when bad loans were on the rise, will complete his term in September 2013.

Known for playing with a straight bat, Chaudhuri can also be charming and is known to be down-to-earth. During his time, Chaudhuri transformed the culture of customer service by providing the lowest rates on retail loans and by knocking off the pre-payment penalty. Among the current deputy MDs, insiders reckon that B Sriram, Sharad Kumar, Pradeep Kumar and Arundhati Bhattacharya could be the likely contenders.

Comptroller & Auditor General

Rarely has a bureaucrat since election commissioner TN Seshan stirred the nation’s soul as Vinod Rai did as the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. The post of CAG, the one Rai used to wake up the nation to the corruption monster such as the coal block allocation, will fall vacant in May.

Since Seshan, politicians have attempted to dilute the power the seat enjoyed. No doubt it will be attempted with CAG, too. Will Rai’s successors take a leaf out of his conduct to retain the high standards like Seshan’s successors did? It remains to be seen.

RBI Deputy Governor

Anand Sinha, a career central banker and regarded as an expert on the new Basel rules on capital for banks, is also on course to finish his two-year term in February. In the past, many deputy governors have stepped down after completing 62 in line with rules governing their appointment but the RBI governor has sought a one-year extension for him.

The government has yet to respond. The RBI is keen to retain him given the backdrop of the implementation of the Basel rules. More importantly, Sinha’s retention has been sought since he would play an important role in finalising the guidelines on new banking licences and granting of such licences next year.

LIC Chairman

After a tenure of a little less than one year, DK Mehrotra, the chairman of India’s largest insurer Life Insurance Corporation will retire in May 2013. During his time, Mehrotra has tried to reposition LIC as the insurer of choice by grabbing market share and improving the experience of customers in settling claims of policyholders.

It was also marked by a pow-vow between the government and the insurance regulator over a special dispensation for LIC for equity investment. Sushobhan Sarkar, MD and two executive directors are the senior most candidates in line to succeed him.

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