The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the appointment of Rajeev Ahuja as Interim Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer (MD&CEO) of the RBL Bank Ltd for a period of three months with effect from December 25, 2021 or till the appointment of a regular MD & CEO, whichever is earlier, the lender said in a stock exchange filing on 30 December.
Earlier, the RBL Bank board had appointed Ahuja as interim CEO subject to regulatory approvals after Vishwavir Ahuja, former CEO, went on leave abruptly. Also, the RBI appointed an additional director on the Board of the bank in an unusual move.
Earlier, Rajeev Ahuja was serving as the Executive Director of RBL Bank. Prior to joining RBL Bank, he was Managing Director - Investor Sales Business (South Asia) with Citigroup, India. Ahuja holds a Masters in Business Administration from IIM, Ahmedabad and a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from the University of Delhi.
Both the bank and the RBI haven’t offered any reason for Vishwavir Ahuja’s exit. Earlier this year, RBL had sought approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to appoint Ahuja for another three-year term at the bank’s helm. The regulator, however, had allowed RBL to extend his term by one year starting June 30, 2021.
During a recent conference call, Rajeev Ahuja said he cannot speak on behalf of the RBI. On December 27, RBI said the appointment of additional directors in private banks is undertaken “as and when it is felt that the board needs closer support in regulatory/supervisory matters”.
RBL Bank management has emphasised that there is nothing wrong with the bank’s financial position. Interim CEO Ahuja reiterated that the bank is sitting on a cash surplus of Rs 15,000 crore. He further stressed that the asset quality has improved over quarters and now looks stable. The bank is in the process of rebalancing the loan book and cutting down the risky unsecured lending book.RBI too, as mentioned above, vouched for the bank’s financial stability citing “a comfortable Capital Adequacy Ratio of 16.33 per cent, Provision Coverage Ratio of 76.6 per cent, Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) of the bank is 153 per cent as on December 24, 2021 as against regulatory requirement of 100 per cent and so on.