Understanding, willing to listen, empathetic, highly result oriented and motivating. There are the top-of-mind attributes one would pick up from those who are working or have worked with Krishnan Venkat Subramanian or KVS Manian as rechristened by Uday Kotak when he started working with Kotak in 1994.

In an unexpected move and probably one which could be unsettling for the stock market, Manian stepped down from the bank with immediate effect giving up his position as Joint Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank, one that he was elevated to in March 2024. His resignation addressed on his letter head to the Kotak Mahindra Bank’s board of directors directed through Ashok Vaswani, MD & CEO of the bank, he mentioned his intent to pursue other opportunities in financial services that he’s currently exploring.

The word on the street has it that he could soon be joining Federal Bank; speculations of which were rife in March, just ahead of Manian’s elevation is joint MD at Kotak Bank. With the current MD & CEO of Federal Bank, Shyam Srinivasan set to retire on September 22, Manian could be a perfect fit for this usually quiet, steady ship, headquartered in Aluva, Kerala. Having handled bank unions when Kotak Mahindra Bank took over ING Vysya and credited for building a very profitable retail franchise the job ticks the boxes. However, a few internal names are also doing the rounds to take over Srinivasan’s role.

More options

Going by the essence of Manian’s letter, there could be more options to consider. Bandhan Bank has mandated Egon Zehnder to look out for CEO candidates, a position to be filled by early July. Given the massive asset quality related issues in the bank which may require extensive repairing, a person with retail assets and investment banking experience could be a worthy pick. Tamilnad Mercantile Bank has also been in the lookout for a CEO, that could be an extremely tricky call to take considering the recent experience on a certain high value transaction.

There is also Jio Financial Services which for the first time spelt out its aspirations in the financial services sector, especially lending and payments, in its March FY24 investor presentation. The lender is still in the process of building up teams across layers including leadership roles. With experienced bankers lately preferring NBFCs as their next stop, Jio Financial Services also presents as a possibility.

Jury should be out soon.

Banks in the hunt for CEO

Bandhan Bank

Federal Bank

Banks due for CEO reappointment

Axis Bank

IDFC First Bank

Note: Banks due for senior management changes in 2024 have only been considered