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RBI Approves Ajith Kumar KK as Dhanlaxmi Bank’s MD & CEO Amid Capital Raise

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) greenlights Ajith Kumar KK’s appointment as Managing Director & CEO of Dhanlaxmi Bank, marking a pivotal moment amidst the bank’s preparations for a ₹300 crore rights issue. The leadership transition follows a series of senior management exits amid internal conflicts.

Leadership Transition

Ajith Kumar KK succeeds J.K. Shivan, with the RBI granting an extension until a successor was named. The board’s approval and shareholder permission are pending regulatory protocol.

Capital Raising Endeavor

Dhanlaxmi Bank gears up for a ₹300 crore rights issue to bolster its capital position. Delays stemming from board disputes prompted an RBI ultimatum to urgently raise capital, highlighting the bank’s need for financial reinforcement.

Financial Landscape

The bank’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) stood at 12.37% by December 2023, slightly above the regulatory minimum. However, concerns persist regarding stress test requirements, influencing cautious lending practices and minimal advances growth.

Challenges Ahead

RBI-imposed hiring restrictions pose a significant obstacle, hindering the bank’s ability to retain and recruit talent. Fresh hiring is contingent upon the bank’s improvement in the cost-to-income ratio, which currently stands at 77.67%.

Management Dynamics

Dhanlaxmi Bank grapples with ongoing conflicts between board members and shareholders, resulting in a series of senior management departures. Former CEO Sunil Gurbaxani’s contentious removal in 2020 preceded Shivan’s tenure, marked by improvements in asset quality and stability.

Incoming Leadership

Ajith Kumar KK, leveraging over 36 years of experience at Federal Bank, assumes the helm, bringing expertise in credit, human resources, and branch banking. His appointment signifies a strategic move to navigate the bank through its current challenges.

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