March 30, 2020
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Aditya Puri, HDFC Bank

Puri joined HDFC Bank as a founding member and an MD in 1994. He has taken it to being the third most valuable company on the stock exchange.

Aditya Puri, HDFC Bank
Photograph by Soumik Kar
Aditya Puri, HDFC Bank
  • Puri, India’s highest paid Bank CEO, had a salary of Rs 9.37cr (in 2015-16)


Delicious ironies. The banker whose very credo is deploying technology is himself famous for not using a cellphone or a computer at his worktable! Yet, he’s the longest serving CEO of an Indian bank, and also the highest paid bank chief in the country—in 2015-16, he earned a salary of Rs 9.37 crore, an increase of 31 per cent from the previous year. Nothing else about Aditya Puri is particularly Luddite either. “Be like Netflix” is his latest mantra. He wants his user platform to be as simple as Netflix, the service delivery as frictionless and short as possible. For customers who have a demat account at HDFC, it takes only 10 seconds to provide a loan.

A BCom from Panjab University and a CA, banking came to Puri as a means to live in an air-conditioned apartment with batchmates on posh Carmichael Road in Mumbai, with a butler and cook on call. A report in Live Mint quotes him: “What the hell am I doing living as a paying guest in Colaba, surviving on a toast and half a cup of tea in the morning, and catching a train to Kandivli every day?” Thinking banking could not be too different from accounting, he asked a cousin to arrange for an interview at Citibank. Now, 40 years later, the resume seems filled with action. After rising to CEO at Citi, he joined HDFC bank as a founding member and MD in 1994, and has taken it to being the third most valuable company on the bourses. In an interview with, he admits the bank has been slow compared to Fintech players like Paytm, but is moving to an API platform that enables them to customise products, instead of old hard-wired solutions. “He’s a great believer in doing simple things and knows well what a bank doesn’t do is more important that what it does. HDFC Bank doesn’t rush to become a pioneer; it learns from others’ mistakes,” says Mint consulting editor Tamal Bandyopadhyay.

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