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Ex-SBI Chief Rajnish Kumar Joins BharatPe As Chairman; Focus On Key Business Initiatives

Fintech unicorn BharatPe has appointed Rajnish Kumar, who was State Bank of India (SBI) chief for a three-year term, as its chairperson of the board.

Rajnish Singh

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BharatPe has appointed former State Bank of India (SBI) chief Rajnish Kumar as its chairperson of the board. The fintech unicorn said that the former SBI chairman will work closely with the top officials of the company on key business and regulatory initiatives. He will also take part in defining BharatPe's long-term and short-term strategy.

The co-founder and Managing Director of BharatPe, Ashneer Grover, said that the inclusion of Rajnish Kumar into the company is a matter of great validation and price. He said that Kumar's invaluable guidance will be essential in building India's largest digital credit provider. 

In a statement, Kumar said, "In just three years, BharatPe has come a long way in becoming a trusted name in the financial services industry. This company has a huge opportunity ahead and it would be great to work closely with its young and talented team to build financial services for the India of tomorrow.”

One of the most renowned names in the banking sector, Rajnish Kumar was the chairperson of SBI for a three-year term (October 2017 to October 2020). He also served as Managing Director (Compliance and Risk), and the Managing Director (National Banking Group) of the public sector bank. 

In 2021, BharatPe has made several senior-level appointments with the last one being Nehul Mehra who was appointed as chief of its consumer lending division. Before joining the fintech company, he was executive director at Russel Reynolds and before that he spent 4.5 years at Paytm.

BharatPe becomes unicorn

In August, BharatPe raised $370 million in a Series E funding round to bring its valuation to $2.85 billion, turning a fintech startup into a unicorn. The funding was led by Tiger Global Management. Dragoneer Investor Group, Sequoia Capital, Steadfast Capital, Coatue Management, Insight Partners, Ribbit Capital and Amplo also took part in the round.

The company had said that it will utilise the money to grow its existing business and capitalise distressed PMC (Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative) Bank. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in July gave a thumbs up for the takeover of PMC bank by a consortium of BharatPe and non-bank Centrum Financial Services. The cooperative bank was on snapping point when the regulator seized it in September 2019, capped withdrawals and initiated a probe into its accounting lapses.

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