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Home > Finance News > Recent exits coincidental, it’s an unnecessary controversy: Sanjay Agarwal, AU Small Finance Bank

Recent exits coincidental, it’s an unnecessary controversy: Sanjay Agarwal, AU Small Finance Bank

Sanjay Agarwal, , clears the air on recent high-level exits and the drop in stock prices. Edited excerpts:

ET Now: Is it a coincidence that you have had top-level exists in critical portfolios or crucial roles?

Sanjay Agarwal: We hired a new CRO in April because our existing CRO wanted to change his portfolio from risk to business. His name is Mayank and he is still in the organisation, heading our credit card business now. That is why we had Alok in April and he belongs to Bombay.

We have a practice that we senior hirees to come with the whole family, because if you are not bringing in your family, there could be a question around stability. Unfortunately, the second wave made families change their minds, as in the case of Sumit.

So I would say it is more of a coincidence. It is an unnecessary controversy. To me it is just a matter of HR — a very ordinary issue.

Other than these, there have been no resignation from my top 50. There is always a churn because that is at very normal industry average. We remain a very exciting franchise as such.

When most organisations and big banks are letting employees work from home, how come your risk officer was not given the option?
We belong to Jaipur. The headquarter is Jaipur. I sit here. The entire regulatory supervisory framework is based out of Jaipur. That role demands that the employee be in Jaipur.

We want to build our businesses based out of this state only. It becomes a challenge at times. We have shifted many of our functions to Mumbai. We do allow people to work from home, but this specific role was such that the WFH option could not be exercised.

When the initial role profile was discussed, was the location not discussed? We need to clear the air because the sharp drop in the stock yesterday has shaken up shareholders…
We had hired Alok in April 2021 from Equitas where he was the chief risk officer. We had clearly told him that your family would have to move to Jaipur. He was willing, but Covid changed things. We actually spoke to the family but things didn’t work out.

The exit is not because of issues around company culture or governance. He had not even properly started working for us. This is just is an ordinary HR exit, on an important position.

Just trying to get facts here — did Alok quit within just three months of his appointment?

Yes, and that too after a whole lockdown. He joined us in April and his first discussion started with us in July first week. We started coming to office in the second, third week of June. So that is why I am saying to you that Alok actually did not take any charge, because we were home for the first two months of this year.

Because of Covid, he did not want to move his family to Jaipur — new location, new geographies, new challenges. And I am seeing that behaviour in many of our employees. There is a huge number of dropouts on our offers in the quarter one.

The whole risk supervisory system of ours is based out of Jaipur. It’s only fair that the risk officers is also based out of here.

Will the replacement be an outsider or an insider?

Deepak Jain, who was the COO, has been appointed by the board with effect from today itself. He will be in charge as the CRO for three years.

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