In some sudden and surprising news, Munish Mittal, Group Head – Information Technology and Chief Information Officer (CIO), HDFC Bank has quit. In another similar development, his deputy Rajesh Chavan, EVP IT has also left. The high-profile exits have been rather low key. This is quite ironical given the fact that the communications department of the company is pretty proactive. Till the time of this report, the bank has officially not announced the exit of these senior technology leaders. In fact, the news came into light through a tweet (shown in the picture below).
Responding to a query by an economist and capital market commentator, HDFC Bank said that the 51-year old Mittal, who joined the bank on August 1996 and rose to be the CIO, had decided to take a break, and wanted to enrol for a 2-year course at a foreign university.
The departure of the CIO at India’s number 1 bank by market capitalisation is sudden as well as worrying. With respect to HDFC Bank, the news takes on all the more significance due to the fact that Aditya Puri, the CEO of the bank since its inception, is slated to eventually step down in October 2020. However, the successor is not yet known. In this situation, the uncertainty can get magnified with the head of an important vertical leaving suddenly. There have been other abrupt high-profile exits as well recently including Abhay Aima (former Group Head – private banking) and Ashok Khanna (ex-Group Head – automobile loans).
Moreover, there are unverified reports that there was a data breach that hit the bank last week on Thursday. Amidst all this, the departures are sure to raise eyebrows. Whatever be the reason, the high-profile exits are a huge setback for HDFC Bank and the IT fraternity at large.