India’s banking sector is run by women

Women Bankers in India

The banking and financial services sector has several women at the helm of affairs.

Arundhati Bhattacharya, SBI

She is the first woman to be the Chairperson of State Bank of India. In 2014, she was listed as the 36th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.

She joined SBI in 1977 as probationary officer at the age of 22 years. She has held several positions during her 36-year career with the bank including working in foreign exchange, treasury, retail operations, human resources and investment banking.

Chanda Kocchar, ICICI Bank

Chanda Kochhar is the managing director of India’s largest private bank ICICI Bank. In 1984, Kochhar joined the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) as a management trainee after receiving her master’s degree. She was later mentored by KV Kamath when she was sent to set up the core team that launched ICICI Bank and transformed it from the financial institution. In April 2006, Kochhar was appointed as Deputy Managing Director of ICICI Bank. She managed the bank’s corporate and retail banking business. Later she took on the MD & CEOs position in 2009.

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Zarin Daruwala, Standard Chartered

She is new CEO of Standard Chartered’s mega India operations. She quit ICICI Bank as its head of corporate banking to take charge of this role.  Standard Chartered, which generates most of its income from Asia, has seen its expansion in emerging markets like India lead to a surge in bad debts. Her task is well cut out and a challenging one that promises to keep her in the spotlight.

Shikha Sharma, MD & CEO, Axis Bank

She heads the country’s third largest consumer bank. She began her career with the ICICI group where she has worked across various verticals. Sharma has received wide recognition for her achievements.

Shikha has more than three decades of experience in the financial sector having begun her career with ICICI Bank in 1980. In her 29-year tenure with the ICICI group, Shikha was instrumental in setting up various businesses – in 1992 she was involved in setting up ICICI Securities, a joint venture between ICICI and JP Morgan, besides setting up various group businesses for ICICI including investment banking and retail finance. In 1995, she moved to ICICI Securities and was later deputed to JP Morgan & Co. She returned to ICICI in 1997 as Managing Director & CEO of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company.

SM Swathi, Bhartiya Mahila Bank


Prior to taking over as ED of the Bank, she was the General Manager of Corporation Bank. She joined the banking industry in September 1980 as Agriculture Field Officer in the Rural Banking Department of Corporation Bank and rose to the rank of General Manager.


In a career spanning over three decades, she has worked in various places in different capacities. She has handled large branches in Delhi and Bangalore and was Zonal Head of Hassan and Delhi at Corporation Bank. She was also the Circle Head of Delhi (North India) and Bangalore (Karnataka). At Head Office, she was incharge of Retail Lending, Marketing, Publicity, Corporate Communications and Research Divisions.


She holds a Postgraduate degree in Agriculture. She was a gold medallist in graduation (BSc Agri). She is also an MBA in Finance in addition to CAIIB.

Also See: Kalpana Morparia on gender balance

Renu Sud Karnad, HDFC

She is the Managing Director of HDFC Limited. She is a graduate in Law and holds a Master’s degree in Economics from Delhi University. She has been employed with HDFC Limited since 1978 and was appointed as the Executive Director in 2000 and Deputy Managing Director in 2007. She is responsible for overseeing all aspects of lending operations of HDFC Limited.

Kalpana Morparia, Chairperson, JP Morgan India

Kalpana Morparia is an Indian banker. She was associated with ICICI Bank for thirty three years. Presently she is the Chief Executive Officer of JP Morgan India. She worked in the legal department of ICICI from 1975 to 1994. In 1996 she was designated as General Manager. Then she was in charge of the legal, planning, treasury and corporate communications departments. In 1998, she was designated a Senior General Manager of ICICI. She joined the Board of Directors of ICICI in May 2001. For a period of five years from 1 June 2007 she has been appointed as the Chief Strategy and Communications Officer.

Some of the other women who have successful run banks in India until very recently include Shubhalakshmi Panse as Chairperson of Allahabad Bank, Naina Lal Kidwai of HSBC India, Kalpana Morparia of JP Morgan earlier ran important ventures for ICICI and many others.