The worry on my succession is overblown, said Aditya Puri, Managing Director, HDFC Bank.
"I am very thankful that people believe that I can run this bank alone or I am the prime driver. The brightest moment I have is when I find a young guy at any other branch telling me what to do and he also understands all the strategy. So succession for us is not a one-time affair," said Puri in an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18's Latha Venkatesh.
Puri said, "I am rooting for the best candidate. I am saying an internal candidate is good because he would know the people, he would know the system, etc. and his acceptability is higher. So when you go outside you obviously look for that exception."
"We want to make sure that we hire the best candidate, internal or external. There is a misconception that I do the vision, I do the strategy, I do the execution but it does not work like that. I wish I knew everything about technology, about last-mile distribution, about how the merchant functions but I don't - its a team and I am first among equals," he said.
Talking about the fintech challenge that the banking sector faced, he said, "The way the ethos in the bank is and in the digital world is you have to work together as a team - you deliver the brand at the customer touchpoint, you have to remove the hierarchies. We started working about two-and-half years back on this - on what we want as a change in the bank because we saw telecommunications, computing, social mobility and artificial intelligence coming in. The Amazons and the Apple Pay took good advantage of this. We thought we could also do it to change our systems, that is our processing, our credit, our marketing, our technology everything and come in with the superior offering that could compete with an Amazon or a Google and provide a greater service."
When asked if there are two opinions on the board regarding his successor, he replied, "Firstly, Deepak Parekh and I have known each other for forty years, so if there was a difference, I would have known about it. We will never be able to end the rumours. I am telling you categorically, Deepak Parekh and I both have the same interest for the best guy to come in whether it is external or internal – and there is nothing that this one prefers internal, this one prefers external. There are no two opinions on the board,"
"The board unanimously gave the criteria and attributes that should be looked at and said, yes, we have strong internal candidates but you can look at candidates who have the status so that they can be accepted internally so that we get the best available candidate. Around April and latest by May, we should be in a position to put our application in," he said.