In a short span of time, Arundhati Bhattacharya, the fi rst ever woman chairperson of the State Bank of India, has turned the behemoth into a women-friendly organisation
The first woman chairperson ever in the history of the State Bank of India (SBI), Arundhati Bhattacharya, joined the bank in 1977 as a probationary officer (PO), not knowing that 37 years hence, she will become the first woman to ever lead a Fortune 500 company in India. During her long career with SBI, spanning for more than three decades, Arundhati has held several key positions and has also served at the bank’s New York office. She has contributed to the establishment of new business verticals within the bank, such as General Insurance, private equity fund, mobile application platform and pension funds.
Prior to her appointment as the chairperson of SBI, Arundhati Bhattacharya served as its Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer. She has always worked with a collaborative leadership style and has an extremely employee-friendly approach.
Following her appointment as the chief of SBI, she introduced a policy for women employees promising three sabbaticals comprising two years each. This policy gave women employees an opportunity to take time off and look after their young ones, or help their children during their examinations or look after their aging parents and in-laws depending on their situation. This well-thought initiative aimed at empowering the employees and won their trust and confidence and ensured job satisfaction and employment security.
In addition to this, Arundhati eradicated the rule that allowed not more than two transfer requests on account of spouses getting transferred. Through this rule change, she, in effect, urged women employees to give their best at work.
In one of her previous roles with the bank, she has led the technology functions for the bank.
With a focus on the significance of teamwork, complemented with her secret mantra of creating an effective second line of command, Arundhati Bhattacharya aims to take State Bank of India, India’s largest bank and one of the biggest in Asia, to a new level of growth.