State Bank of India’s chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya, ICICI Bank’s chief Chanda Kochhar and Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma ranked in the top 20 of the ’50 Most Powerful Women International’ list released by Fortune.
The list, which considered women based outside the US, placed Bhatacharya in the second spot while Kochhar was ranked fifth and Sharma 19th.
Group Executive Chairman Ana Botin of Banco Santander, Eurozone’s largest bank by market value, topped the list.
Regarding the SBI chief, Fortune noted: “Bhattacharya’s profile has risen during her three-year tenure atop India’s largest bank, a 210-year-old institution that ranks No. 232 on Fortune’s Global 500. This year, there was much speculation that she might succeed Raghuram Rajan, governor of the Reserve Bank of India. She didn’t get that job, but at SBI, she has continued her high-profile battle with the bank’s bad loans, while courting overseas partners like KKR to invest in the stressed assets. In May, she also orchestrated SBI’s merger with six other groups, a plan that, once complete, will result in one of largest lenders in Asia. Though her term leading the bank is set to expire in October, most expect the government will extend her time so she can see the efforts through.”
ICICI Bank’s Managing Director and CEO Kochhar was acknowledged as a “visionary” even by rival bankers.
“After seven years at the helm of India’s largest private sector lender, with consolidated assets of $139 billion, Kochhar has overhauled the nation’s consumer retail business,” Fortune said while highlighting her effort to augment the bank’s performance.
Though bad loans eroded income growth this year, she has engaged turnaround experts to help ditch those distressed assets, it said.
Acknowledging Sharma’s contribution to the private lender, Fortune said: “Sharma has grown Axis from an underrepresented bank to the nation’s fastest growing private sector lender, with revenue up 15 per cent to $7.9 billion in 2015 and nearly 3000 branches across 1,800 cities and towns.”
In May, Sharma issued a $500 million green bond at the London Stock Exchange – Asia’s first such certified bond in support of green energy and environmentally friendly projects. It was oversubscribed twice, it said.
Last week, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi was ranked second and was the only woman of Indian-origin in Fortune’s list of the 50 most powerful women in the US.