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Govt to appoint LIC chairman by June


New Delhi: The government is set to appoint a full-time chairman at Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) by June, a finance ministry official said, ending speculation over the vacant top job in the state-owned insurer.

The official said the chairman would be selected from among candidates available within the life insurer and would serve a term of around a year.

The official denied any plan to look for professionals from the wider industry to fill this coveted position this year. Any such move will only be considered when next round of selection process is initiated sometime in 2024.

The government is keen to revamp the structure of LIC by 2024 and allow the appointment of a chief executive officer (CEO) — instead of chairman — and four MDs who would report to the CEO. If this structure is adopted as per amendments to LIC Act carried in 2021, the government may rope in professionals outside of LIC as its CEO while the position of chairman would be removed.

“The process for selection of new full-time chairman of LIC has been initiated and we will have a candidate to fill the post before the vacancy expected in June,” the official said.

The government has given LIC MD Siddhartha Mohanty additional charge as chairman for a period of three months from 14 March.

It has denied further extension to chairman M R Kumar, who had in the past got two extensions and was to continue as chairman till March, 2023. Kumar was appointed chairman of LIC in 2019.

With Mohanty also expected to superannuate by 30 June, the process of selection of the next chairman is on full steam to prevent absence of a full-time top executive in LIC at a time considered critical to support the corporation’s performance, especially with the tax amendments brought about in the union budget and the divestment of IDBI Bank.

LIC currently has four MDs: Bishnu Charan Patnaik, Ipe Mini, Siddhartha Mohanty, and Raj Kumar. With the government looking at continuing with this structure in future too, these four positions may be maintained while one among the candidates or any other internal candidate would be appointed as chairman for this year before a restructuring involving appointment of a CEO is finalised.

LIC is the country’s biggest life insurer and fifth-largest life insurer in the world.

As per LIC’s financial results for the December quarter (Q3FY23), its consolidated net profit rose sharply to 8,334 crore during the three month period, as premium income improved and it moved 5,670 crore to its shareholders‘ fund to shore up its net worth.

The insurance giant’s had posted a profit of 235 crore in the same period last fiscal. In the July to September quarter, it had reported a net profit of Rs15,952 crore. LIC had reported a net profit of 682.9 crore in the April to June quarter.

LIC’s net premium income improved to 1.11 trillion in the reporting quarter, up 14.5% from 97,620 crore in the year-ago period.

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