New RBI Chief Urjit Patel Steps Into Spotlight


Incoming Reserve Bank of India Governor, Urjit Patel, steps into spotlight as he is widely regarded as having the professional and academic credentials he needs to make a success of his new job.

Less well known is whether a man who seems to feel most at ease in his own company commands the communication skills to answer to multiple constituencies and keep a 17,000-strong team on his side.

Dr Patel, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India since 2013, demonstrated intellectual heft in overseeing landmark changes to the 81-year old institution, including switching to inflation-targeting and establishing a monetary policy panel to set interest rates.
Now promoted, Dr Patel offers the promise of continuity with most of the policies of the man he will replace, Raghuram Rajan, who was feted by investors for halving inflation and for pulling the country out of its worst currency crisis in over two decades.

Within the RBI, however, Dr Patel is widely viewed as a solitary and at times temperamental figure.

He avoids large meetings and gatherings with colleagues and, in contrast to other deputy governors who had busier public schedules, gives few speeches or media interviews.

“His biggest challenge is his communication skill,” said an official who works closely with Dr Patel. “He prefers to interact with only those whom he is comfortable with, which is a very small group.”