Shri O P Bhatt, has been declared the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year 2007 in the Business category ahead of Vijay Mallya and the Ambanis .
After much deliberation, the jury voted for the maverick banker Shri O P Bhatt, at the helm of the State Bank of India since 2006, as the CNN-IBN’s businessman of the Year. He has been credited with doing the impossible.
Shri Bhatt took over at a time when India’s largest bank was faced with tough competition from fast growing private players. The mammoth challenge was to arrest SBI’s falling market share, raise funds for expansion and look for new avenues of growth.
In another daring move, Shri Bhatt has started the merger of all seven associate banks with the parent bank. Once the merger is completed, the combined entity will have a balance sheet of over 8 lakh crore rupees, and a countrywide network of 14,000 branches – enough to take on global banks looking to penetrate the Indian market after 2009.
Bhatt is the only SBI chairman since liberalisation who has been given a five year term. He is setting himself some tough targets. One of the targets is to up SBI’s market share by one per cent every year. Under him the bank is also looking at new business streams like general insurance, pension funds & mobile banking.
It’s a vision to make SBI a truly global bank and the man behind that dream is CNN-IBN’s Indian of the Year in the Business category for 2007.