Axis Bank chief Shikha Sharma, the longest serving woman CEO in the financial sector, will step down in December 2018 – two-and-a-half years before her term was due to end. The announcement came after the Reserve Bank of India raised questions on the bank board’s proposal to appoint her for a fourth term from July 2018.
On December 8, 2017, the board had informed the RBI of its decision to re-appoint Sharma as MD and CEO for three more years from June 1, 2018. However, in a surprise announcement, Axis Bank said that Sharma, who has been the CEO of the third-largest private sector bank since 2009, “had requested the board to reconsider the period of her reappointment as the managing director and CEO of the bank to be revised from June 1, 2018 up to December 31, 2018".
While the reasons for her stepping down early have not been disclosed, many believe that it has to do with the RBI communication to the board raising questions on her reappointment for a fourth term.