‘Not interested’ in second term as NSE MD & CEO: Limaye

Days after the National Stock Exchange (NSE) invited applications for the role of its MD & CEO, its current MD, Vikram Limaye has communicated to the board that he would not like to be considered for the second term. Speaking to The Indian Express, Limaye said he had discussions with the board and has communicated his decision.

“I have informed the board that I am not interested in pursuing a second term and will therefore not be applying and participating in the process that is underway. My tenure ends on July 16, 2022. I have done my best to lead the organization in a very difficult period and to stabilise, strengthen and transform NSE. We have come a long way in terms of controls, governance, technology, regulatory effectiveness and business growth. I am grateful to all stakeholders, regulators and government for the support extended to me,” he said.

As per Sebi norm, the MD and CEO of a stock exchange has to apply and compete with other candidates for the top job after the completion of the five year term. Limaye was appointed the NSE chief in July 2017 following the exit of Chitra Ramkrishna amid the probe into co-location scam.

While Limaye’s decision comes days after NSE invited applications, it also comes nearly 4 weeks after the Securities and Exchange Board of India issued an order penalising it’s two former CEOs, Ravi Narain and Chitra Ramkrishna, last month, for alleged lapses in corporate governance during the appointment of its group operating officer Anand Subramanian. In 2019, NSE was also penalised for giving preferential access to a few stock broker between 2012-2014 through their co-location facility.

Subramanian and Ramkrishna are currently in CBI custody, following the Sebi order that said Ramkrishna was steered by a yogi, dwelling in the Himalayan ranges, in appointing Subramanian.

During Limaye’s term, Sebi continued with the probe in the co-location scam that transpired in Ramkrishna’s term and passed the orders in 2019. Insiders say that while Limaye’s term involved steering the exchange through the crisis situation when the exchange was being probed for providing favours to certain brokers between 2012-2014, they feel that he brought growth and stability back. The crisis, however, unfolded again after Sebi came out with its order on February 11, 2022.

“If the colocation matter was an institutional crisis and Limaye handled the situation and steered the company through it, the current crisis involving Ramkrishna and the alleged Yogi is not an institutional matter and will not have a bearing on the institution. It is more personal in nature,” said a source. During his five-year term, while NSE’s revenue jumped over three times from Rs 2,681 crore in FY17 to around Rs 8,500 crore (expected in FY22); its profit after tax is expected to cross Rs 4,400 crore in FY22, more than 3.5 times over its PAT of Rs 1,219 crore in FY17.

During the last 5 years, the NSE increased its market share despite the controversies around colocation. While its market share in the capital market segment has risen from 85 per cent in FY17 to 92 per cent in FY22; even in the currency option segment its market cap has gone up from 63 per cent to 75 per cent in the same period. Sources also state that NSE has significantly enhanced its regulatory surveillance mechanism, governance and control and has also undergone technology transformation.

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