“Yes, I have joined Baring India,” Kumar told ET. “It’s an advisory role, I will not be on the board.” He did not elaborate on his likely role at the PE firm. People familiar with the development said Kumar will advise Baring on investments in India and Southeast Asia.
Baring Private Equity (Asia), one of the largest global alternative investment firms, and its existing credit funds have made 21 investments across mid-sized companies and deployed around $310 million. Baring, known for its big-ticket buyouts, manages around $21 billion across Asia.
Kumar, who comes with a rich experience of 40 years, is expected to advise the Baring team on scouting portfolio investments and likely opportunities, and help improve businesses at portfolio companies.
Kumar, who retired from SBI in October last year, is credited to have made the lender much more resilient to absorb asset quality shocks, completed the mega merger of seven banks with SBI, and made the public sector lender an all-rounded digitally savvy bank.
Under Rajnish Kumar, SBI’s bad loans improved by a third with gross bad loans at Rs 1.29 lakh crore in the first quarter of the current financial year against Rs 1.86 lakh crore in the second quarter of the fiscal year 2018. During the same period, the bank’s gross non-performing asset ratio improved to 5.44% from 9.97%.