Arundhati Bhattacharya is a prominent Indian Banker and the current Chairperson & Managing Director of the State Bank of India. She is the 24th Chairperson and the first woman to be the Chairperson of State Bank of India. The bank is ranked in the Fortune Global 500 list and is the largest bank in the country. Being the Chairperson of the largest bank of the second largest population of the world made her one of the most powerful woman in the world and the Forbes 2016 list of most powerful woman lists her at the 25th position. She also serves as the director of the Export Import Bank of India.
Arundhati Bhattacharya was born to Prodyut Kumar Mukherjee and Kalyani Mukherjeen on 18th March 1956 in Bhilai, Kolkata. Her father was working as an Engineer at the Bhilai Plant whereas her mother was a Homeopathic Doctor. She spent her childhood in Bhilai and later shifted to Bokaro in Jharkhand. In Bokaro, she completed her schooling from St. Xavier's School and joined the Lady Brabourne College in Kolkata for her BA in English Literature. Later, she completed her MA in English Literature. The fact that she does not have any business/ MBA degree or Diploma and yet has made it to the top of the largest bank of the country stands to her merit and hard work.
Career Graph: After completion of her education, she joined SBI as a Probationary Officer 'PO' in 1978 and has steadily risen up the ladder since. She has held the profiles of Corporate Development Officer and Deputy Managing Director. She has also known for setting up several new companies as well as initiatives of the bank that includes initiatives like SBI General Insurance, SBI Macquarie Infrastructure Fund and SBI SG Global Securities Services. She also played a key role in the launch of online IT platforms for the bank and helped in launching the mobile banking service of the bank. She also handled large number of corporate credit as well as initiatives like financial inclusion and financing the self-help groups. During her 39 years of service in SBI, she also spent a spell of her service in the New York Office where she was given the charge of monitoring branch performance, overseeing external audit and correspondence relations. In 2013, before the retirement of the then chairman of SBI Pratip Chaudhuri, her name was included along with other MD's like Hemant Contractor, A. Krishna Kumar and S. Viswanathan. The government then made the decision to appoint Bhattacharya as the Chairman of the 210 year old bank. Her longer residual service helped to clinch the decision in her favor. She succeeded Pratip Chaudhuri on 30th September 2013 and became the first woman chief of SBI. She also became the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company in India and the only woman banker to lead the list of giants anywhere in the world. After becoming the Chairman of SBI, she also became the Chairperson and Director of State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore, State bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore. She also serves as the Director of the Export Import Bank of India. After becoming the Chairman, she introduced a two-year sabbatical policy for women employees for child or elder care.
Arundhati Bhattacharya is married to Pritimoy Bhattacharya who was an Engineer and had later joined IIT Kharagpur as a Professor. The couple also has a daughter named Sukrita who was born in 1995. However, the couple was finding it difficult to raise the daughter as she was based in Mumbai whereas Pritimoy was in Kharagpur. He later left his IIT Kharagpur job to take care of the family. Arundhati always credits her family for her success. Pritimoy currently has been software professional and has launched an IT company based in Kolkata. She was due to retire on 6th October 2016 but received a year's extension. She has been able to push SBI to strengthen its credit-monitoring measures and to identify loans that may default and then take steps to recover them. She also leads a panel that works on retrieving stressed loans greater than Rs 500 Crore. In 2014, she entered the Forbes List for the first time and was ranked as the 36th most powerful woman in the world. However, the Forbes 2016 list of most powerful woman lists her at the 25th position.