SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya gets one-year extension

The Union government has given State Bank of India chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya a one-year extension, India's top lender by assets said, allowing her more time to lead a clean-up of bad assets and oversee a merger of affiliates.

Arundhati BhattacharyaBhattacharya, 60, was due to complete her current three-year term on 6 October. The Indian government, which owns the majority stake of SBI, has extended her term for one year, effective on 7 October, the bank said in a filing on Saturday.

Bhattacharya is the first woman to lead the two-century old bank, having climbed up through its ranks since joining in 1977.

She has won strong praise from investors at a time when state-run banks are being pressed by the Reserve Bank of India to clean up around Rs8 lakh crore in soured loans that had crimped credit growth.

The SBI, which accounts for more than a fifth of India's bank loans and deposits, is also in the process of taking over five of its subsidiaries and a niche bank for women to create a mega bank with assets of $447 billion.

Bhattacharya was named in the Forbes list of the world's 100 most powerful women, and there had been speculation that she was a candidate to replace Raghuram Rajan as Reserve Bank of India Governor, although that ultimately went to insider Urjit Patel.