P Jayarama Bhat (72), former Chairman of Karnataka Bank Ltd, passed away in Mangaluru on Wednesday. He is survived by his wife, a son, and a daughter.

Born on November 14, 1951, Polali Jayarama Bhat did his MSc in Chemistry (with first rank) from the University of Mysore in 1972.

He joined the services of Karnataka Bank as a Probationary Officer in January 1973 after briefly serving as a lecturer for three months.

Since 1976, Bhat headed leading branches of the bank till his promotion to Chief Accountant at the head office in 1993. He became the Assistant General Manager in 1994, Deputy General Manager in 1996, and General Manager in 1998.

In 2005, Jayarama Bhat was promoted as Chief General Manager of the bank. He was appointed as the first Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Karnataka Bank on July 14 2009.

Initially appointed for a period of three years, Bhat got two extensions up to July 13, 2018. However, he voluntarily opted to relinquish his post of MD and CEO in April 2017. Following this, Mahabaleshwara MS was appointed MD and CEO.

During Bhat’s tenure of around eight years as MD and CEO of the bank, the business turnover of the bank almost tripled to ₹93,843 crore from ₹32,034 crore as on July 13, 2009, with a CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 14.40 per cent.

More than 300 new branches were added to the bank’s network during Bhat’s tenure as the MD and CEO. He was instrumental in introducing several digital banking products and services.

He was appointed by RBI as Non-executive Chairman of the Bank in April 2017 as 10th Chairman of the Bank and retired on November 13, 2021. He served Karnataka Bank for a record number of over 48 years from April 1973 to November 2021.

He was on the board of Universal Sompo General Insurance Company Ltd, a joint venture of Karnataka Bank, as a Nominee Director. He was also a Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers (CAIIB).

In one of the previous interactions with businessline correspondent a few years ago, Bhat had stated that he was fond of Carnatic music. Cricket was his favourite game.