5 mins to prove candidature as ED

Mumbai, March 23 | Updated: Mar 24 2005, 06:35am hrs
It takes all of three to five minutes to judge the capability of a general manager (GM) of a public sector bank (PSB) for elevating him/her as an executive director! This interesting fact came to light at the shot gun (or is it assembly line) interviews of 89 GMs conducted on March 18 and 19 to fill up posts of 16 executive directors which are already vacant or will fall vacant by 2006. The mass interview exercise also disproves another fact : that the wheels of government move slow.

On the two nerve-wracking days, all 89 shortlisted GMs turned up, properly suited and booted, to face the interview board comprising KJ Udeshi, deputy governor, Reserve Bank of India; Vinod Rai, additional secretary (banking), ministry of finance, Pradeep Khandwala, professor, Indian Institute of Management; and D Basu, former chairman of State Bank of India.

The board, reportedly, went about its task of interviewing the candidates - 45 on the first day and 44 on the next - with clock-work precision, sparing on an average, three to five minutes of its precious time to size up a candidate, who may eventually occupy the number two board level slot in a public sector bank. It may be pertinent to note here that PSU banks account for almost 80% of the total assets and liabilities of the banking system in the country.

With the interview now behind them, the candidates are hoping the Centre expedites the appointment of EDs. They are wary of the fact that last time round it took nearly 18 months for the shortlisted candidates to get appointed as EDs.