Seven potential successors to RBI chief Rajan

INDIA-CENBANK/RAJAN Rajan has announced that he would step down when his term ends on September 4 | Reuters

The RBI governor Raghuram Rajan stunned government officials and investors on Saturday by announcing he would step down when his term ends on September 4.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government would name a successor soon and a senior official told Reuters there were currently seven names on a list of possible candidates.

Here is some background on the candidates seen as potential successors to Rajan at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI):

Urjit Patel:

One of the RBI's four deputy governors, Patel, 52, was reappointed in January for another three years. He has run the central bank's monetary policy department since 2013 and is viewed as a leading contender for the governor's job.

Seen as a close lieutenant to Rajan, Patel headed a committee that introduced landmark changes including a switch to inflation-targeting and adopting consumer prices as the new benchmark instead of wholesale prices. The changes he helped drive are considered to be among the most significant monetary policy reforms since India opened up its economy in 1991.

Patel, whose remit at the RBI included managing money markets, has faced criticism from market participants, however, with some traders and bankers complaining that he kept liquidity tight at a time when the RBI was lowering rates, starving banks of cash.

Arundhati Bhattacharya:

A high-profile banker, Bhattacharya has been at the helm of India's largest lender— State Bank of India—since late 2013 and has earned praise from investors for her management of the bank's mountain of bad debt. She was named in the Forbes list of world's 100 most powerful women.

Bhattacharya, 60, whose term as the chair at State Bank of India ends later this year, is perceived as another front runner in the race.

She was reportedly among the candidates interviewed to head India's capital markets regulator before the government made a last-minute decision to extend the term of the incumbent. She has spent her entire career in the banking sector and never held any policy roles.

Rakesh Mohan:

Mohan, 68, had two stints as a deputy governor of the RBI. He also served as secretary at the department of economic affairs at the Indian government's finance ministry and held positions at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Mohan was in charge of monetary policy, financial markets, economic research and statistics at the RBI.

Subir Gokarn:

Gokarn, 56, also a former deputy RBI governor, currently serves as an executive director at the IMF. He looked after monetary policy during his three years at the central bank until the end of 2012.

Ashok Lahiri:

Lahiri, 64, a former chief economic adviser to the Indian government, also served the Asian Development Bank as an executive director.

He is the non-executive chairman of Bandhan Bank, one of India's newest lenders.

Ashok Chawla:

Chawla, 65, was last month appointed as the chair of the National Stock Exchange, India's biggest bourse. He stepped down as chairman of Competition Commission of India earlier this year.

He has been a civil servant for most of his career, and has served on the board of the Reserve Bank of India. He has also been a director for state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp.

Vijay Kelkar:

The 74-year-old economist has held several positions with the Indian government, including as a finance secretary.

He has authored several reports for the government, most recently writing about reviving public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects. Kelkar chalked out a fiscal consolidation roadmap under the previous government.

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Topics : #Raghuram Rajan | #RBI

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