Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma will step down by end of 2018

Vastavam web: Axis Bank Ltd said on Monday that its long-time Chief Executive Shikha Sharma will step down at the end of 2018, days after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was reported to have expressed concerns about the lender giving her a three-year extension.India’s banking sector has been facing increased scrutiny amid record-high bad loan levels within the banking system, the discovery of a $2 billion scam at state-run Punjab National Bank and a slew of other issues.

Axis Bank’s board has accepted Sharma’s request, pending approval from India’s central bank, the lender said.Last July, Axis said it had re-appointed Sharma as CEO for a three-year period starting June 1, 2018.Axis Bank gave no reason for Sharma cutting short her term and a bank spokesman declined to comment when asked if the decision was connected with the recent media reports.Sharma herself made no comment in the regulatory filing.

Under Sharma, Axis has seen its gross bad loans jump more than six times over the last three years to 250 billion rupees ($3.85 billion) as of end-2017.Saswata Guha, a financial sector analyst at Fitch Ratings, said Sharma’s decision to seek a shortening of her term was not “entirely unexpected” given the media reports on the RBI move.

“There is eight-nine months time for a smooth handover, so from an operational perspective, the chances of disruption seem to be low,” Guha said, adding the bank has a capable second-and-third order management line.