Thursday, 23 June 2016

SK Roy resigns as LIC chairman two years before completing his term

MUMBAI | NEW DELHI: SK Roy has unexpectedly resigned as chairman of state-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India, two years before his term ends, according to people with knowledge of the matter.A senior finance ministry official said Roy had made similar requests in the past. "He wanted to go because of personal reasons," he said. Roy had wanted to quit before this year's Budget as well, the person said. His
resignation will be sent to the appointments committee of the cabinet (ACC). "Once they accept it, we will begin the search process," the official added.

According to another official, LIC Managing Director VK Sharma may succeed Roy at the helm. "He has more tenure left and unless there is a decision to bring someone from the outside, he may sail through," the person said. The other managing director with an outside chance is Usha Sangwan, the person said.

Roy did not respond to messages or calls. LIC's spokesperson was not available to respond. The others mentioned above could not be immediately reached for comment.

Having taken charge as chairman in June 2013, Roy was focused on regaining market share lost to private insurers that promised better returns and customer service. After slipping to around 65 per cent, LIC's share of the insurance pie has climbed up to 71 per cent.

His departure would be a rare instance of an LIC chairman leaving office before the term ends, although this has happened before. GN Bajpai resigned as LIC chairman to join the Securities and Exchange Board of India. TS Vijayan stepped down as managing director to join the insurance regulator as chairman.

LIC, which typically bails out the government when it's snubbed by other investors, has pledged to invest Rs 1.5 lakh crore in railways over the next five years. It has bought a large part of Uday bonds issued by state governments as part of a rescue plan for stricken power distribution companies. Roy began his LIC career in 1981.

Prior to becoming chairman, he was zonal manager of the north, central and eastern zones. In a recent interview, Roy said the company was losing market share because of a revamped range and lack of trained manpower to sell these products. LIC reported a 25 per cent growth in new business income to Rs 97,674 crore in FY16, surpassing private insurers that grew 18 per cent. 

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