Axis Bank's Shikha Sharma to step down on December 31, 2018

Shikha Sharma MD and CEO Axis Bank | PTI

Shikha Sharma has been the longest serving woman chief executive officer in the banking sector but amidst the RBI questioning and reports of renewal of her tenure, a new report surfaced claiming that the Axis Bank's CEO would cut short her tenure by 30 months and would step down from the designation in December.

Axis Bank's Shikha Sharma has had an illustrious career in banking, regardless of the rough patch that's hogging the headlines lately.

Axis has seen its gross bad loans jump more than six times over the last three years to 250 billion rupees ($3.85 billion) as of end-2017.

The Board, the filing said, has "accepted" her said request, subject to the approval of the RBI.

The Axis Bank board has curtailed the fourth term of its CEO and Managing Director Shikha Sharma to seven months following an unusual request from her that she be relieved in December 2018, 29 months ahead of the scheduled term.

The CEO said the ICICI Bank board's initial decision to give a clean chit to Chanda Kochhar in the controversy surrounding the loan to the Videocon group, may have been a bit hasty. So much that Axis Bank had to issue a statement denying the rumours.

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However, the move comes at a time when the bank has been under regulatory scrutiny for rising bad loans and other alleged lapses.

Sharma, who would complete her third term on May 31, 2018, has been heading the bank since 2009.

Earlier, Axis Bank said communications between the bank and the regulator are confidential. Sharma had told ET in October a year ago that such setbacks were bound to happen. "As an institution, we are trying to be as transparent as we can".

The bank flourished under Sharma's leadership until things took a turn for the worse after RBI announced its asset quality review in December 2015. "If things don't go well, you get brickbats", she had said at the time. Net profit fell to Rs 579 crore in the December 2016 quarter from Rs 2,175 crore in the corresponding period the year before.

Axis Bank shares closed 5.43% up at Rs546 on BSE, while the Sensex ended 0.27% up at 33,880.25 points.

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