Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai)

Exits signal big revamp at HDFC Bank

- Gopika Gopakumar gopika.g@livemint.com


MUMBAI: A flurry of top-level exits at HDFC Bank Ltd has turned the spotlight on the country’s largest private sector lender, which is set for a top leadership change later this year. Since March, the bank has seen the exits of Abhay Aima, group head of private banking; Ashok Khanna, group head of secured vehicle loans; and Munish Mittal, chief informatio­n officer—all HDFC Bank veterans and close aides of its long-time managing director Aditya Puri.

People aware of the matter have pointed to an expected top management reshuffle in HDFC Bank before Puri leaves, with more exits likely in the coming months. The bank has sent three shortliste­d names to Reserve Bank of India as Puri’s successor: Sashidhar Jagdishan and Kaizad Bharucha—both executive directors of the bank—and Sunil Garg, global chief executive officer of Citi Commercial Bank.

HDFC Bank has described all three exits as routine developmen­ts.

However, without disclosing specifics, it has said that it is indeed investigat­ing alleged business malpractic­es in its vehicle finance business, which was headed by Khanna till March.

Khanna, according to a Bloomberg News report, was denied an extension after receiving two extensions post-retirement. The Bloomberg News report on Monday said that Khanna’s exit is linked to an “internal audit of the bank’s vehicle dealer lending as well as allegation­s of conflicts of interest in the purchase of global positionin­g systems for vehicles financed by the bank”.

According to the private lender, the reason behind Mittal’s abrupt exit is his decision to pursue higher studies in a foreign university. Aima, on the other hand, has decided to take an early retirement. HDFC Bank, however, said it has looked into all complaints and has followed due process, without mentioning any specific individual or complaint.

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