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Former Axis Bank chief Shikha Sharma to join KKR as advisor: Report

KKR is expected to make the announcement on January 31, later in the night.

January 31, 2019 / 01:38 PM IST
Shikha Sharma is the MD and CEO of Axis Bank. Sharma, who is serving her fourth term, has decided to shorten her tenure by more than two years. Sharma’s decision came after the country’s apex bank the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) questioned the bank’s performance and its deteriorating asset quality. Under Sharma’s tenure, Axis Bank – the country’s third largest private lender – reported its gross non-performing assets (NPAs) rising from 0.96 per cent in March 2009 to 5.28 per cent in December 2017. Axis Bank has also been pulled up twice by the central bank for under-reporting bad loans for financial years 2016 and 2017.

Shikha Sharma is the MD and CEO of Axis Bank. Sharma, who is serving her fourth term, has decided to shorten her tenure by more than two years. Sharma’s decision came after the country’s apex bank the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) questioned the bank’s performance and its deteriorating asset quality. Under Sharma’s tenure, Axis Bank – the country’s third largest private lender – reported its gross non-performing assets (NPAs) rising from 0.96 per cent in March 2009 to 5.28 per cent in December 2017. Axis Bank has also been pulled up twice by the central bank for under-reporting bad loans for financial years 2016 and 2017.

Shikha Sharma, former managing director and chief executive officer of Axis Bank, will join the investment firm KKR as an advisor on February 1, 2019, where she will help to diversify the company's financial services offerings, Sanjay Nayar, Chief Executive Officer of KKR India, told CNBC-TV18.

KKR has two non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and is keen to diversify into small medium and enterprises (SME), housing etc.

The company is expected to make the announcement on January 31, later in the night.

The global investment company, KKR, has two non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) — KKR India Financial Services and KKR India Asset Finance.

According to Nayar, KKR is keen to bring Sharma on board as she has experience in business to consumer businesses.

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Sharma and KKR were unavailable for a comment when CNBC-TV18 tried to contact them.

Sharma, an IIM Ahmedabad graduate, was picked by ICICI's project finance team. She helped the bank to set up ICICI Securities and played a key role in converting the bank from the then development financial institution into a universal bank. She left ICICI Bank in 2009.

One of her key stints was in Axis Bank, from where she retired on December 31, 2018. However, the piling up of the non-performing assets (NPAs) under her governance questioned the bank's urge to reappoint her for the next term.

In July 2017, the board of Axis Bank approved the reappointment of Sharma, who was to start her fourth term as Managing Director and CEO from June 2018.

However, in April of last year, Sharma wanted her new term to be reduced to seven months from a three-year tenure without citing any reasons, which was accepted by the board.

It was learned that the RBI had asked Axis Bank's board to reconsider the decision to reappoint Sharma amid concerns over rising bad loans on the bank's books. She had completed her third term as the bank's head on May 31, 2018.

(With inputs from PTI)
CNBC-TV18
first published: Jan 31, 2019 01:38 pm

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