A Generational Change in Banking Leadership in Nepal

As first-generation CEOs gradually resign, second-generation bankers are taking a leadership position in Nepali banking.

The Nepali banking sector which is currently grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic is also in the midst of leadership change. In the last 2-3 months, CEOs of five commercial banks have either resigned or did not wish to extend their term.

In the last two months, CEOs of three commercial banks have stepped down. Siddhartha Bank CEO Shambhu Nath Gautam, Bank of Kathmandu CEO Shovan Dev Pant, and Kumari Bank CEO Surendra Bhandari have ended their association with their respective banks. A few months back, Century Bank CEO Tulsi Ram Gautam had resigned.

As the tenure of current CEO Bhuwan Dahal ends, Sanima Bank will have a new CEO in the next 4 months. Dahal who led the bank for two terms says the succession plan following his departure is ready.

Even though he is yet to leave the bank, Sanima’s board is not looking for a new CEO, as a new generation within the bank is ready to take charge.

In some banks, Deputy CEOs have taken charge. After Govinda Gurung left Civil Bank to join a bank in Myanmar, Civil’s Deputy CEO Sunil Pokharel has been promoted to the post of CEO.

Similarly, after the end of the tenure of Surendra Bhandari, Anuj Mani Timilsina has been appointed as Acting CEO of Kumari Bank. Timilsina who has more than two decades of experience in the Nepali banking sector previously served as the CEO of Century Commercial Bank.

As of now, six banks have CEOs who are second-generation bankers. Anupama Khunjeli of Mega Bank, Santosh Koirala of Machhapuchche Bank, Krishna Bahadur Adhikari of Nepal Bank, Sunil KC of NMB Bank, Ganesh Raj Pokhrel of Citizens Bank International, Roshan Neupane of NIC Asia Bank, and Ajay Bikram Shah of Laxmi Bank are the executives who have made their way to the top by climbing the corporate ladder. All of these executives have over two decades of experience in banking, which has also smoothen the generational change in leadership in banks. This is why the banks’ BODs are increasingly looking to appoint CEOs from within their own organizations rather than bringing from outside.

The search for new-generation leaders began after the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) set a four-year term for the CEO of a bank and only two consecutive terms.

Bankers who have been working in the Nepali banking sector for a long time are Ashok Rana, Ratnaraj Bajracharya, Narayandas Manandhar, Gyanendra Dhungana, Jyoti Pandey, and Anil Keshary Shah. Some of their contemporaries such as Parshuram Kuwar, Shobhan Dev Pant, Surendra Bhandari, Tulsi Ram Gautam, and Shambhu Nath Gautam have left the banking sector.

As BAFIA has provisioned tenure of the BFIs’ CEO for four-year and that they can serve only for two consecutive terms of eight years, BFIs are increasingly looking for new generation leaders to lead their organizations.

Sanima Bank CEO Dahal sees the change in guard in banks as obvious. “Generational change is an obvious process. For any CEO, an eight-year period is a long time during which he/she has ample opportunity to implement the things he wanted,” said Dahal. “And, one of the things is to prepare the successor.”

The leadership change, according to Dahal is also imperative in terms of corporate governance. “Any organization cannot have innovation if there is a leader for a long time.” The retired CEOs, according to Dahal should be ready for the advisory roles and guide the new leadership.

The new generation CEOs, according to Dahal, are as capable as the older ones. “They have been trying to bring newness and innovation to banking, be it deposit in mobilization or lending,” said Dahal.

Bankers say there must be a succession plan to ensure a smooth transition of leadership. Many bankers say that leadership transition becomes smooth whenever the new leaders are groomed from within the organization.



Pokhrel has been leading the Civil Bank after Govinda Gurung resigned from CEO to work in a bank in Myanmar. Pokharel, who started his banking career in 1991, has long experience of working in Nepali as well as foreign banks. His banking career began from the then Grindlays Bank (now Standard Chartered Bank) where he worked for almost two decades. Pokhrel also had a stint with NIC Asia Bank and Nabil Bank before moving to Myanmar in 2016 to work for UAB Bank and AGD Bank. He had joined Civil Bank in May 2019 as Deputy CEO.


Following the exit of Surendra Bhandari, Kumari Bank has made Anuj Mani Timilsina as Acting CEO. Bhandari who has more than two decades of experience in the Nepali banking sector previously served as the CEO of Century Commercial Bank.

MANOJ NEUPANE, Acting CEO, Century Commercial Bank

Manoj Neupane is currently leading the Century Commercial Bank after the resignation of Tulsi Ram Gautam from the bank’s CEO. The bank board has promoted him as Acting CEO after the exit of Gautam. Neupane had joined the Century Bank in October 2017 and was promoted to Deputy CEO in August 2019.


Shravan Lal Maskay has been given the responsibility of acting CEO of the Bank of Kathmandu (BoK) following the retirement of CEO Shobhan Dev Pant. Maskay, who started his career at Nabil Bank, has more than three and a half decades of experience in banking.


Sundar Prasad Kandel is currently leading Siddhartha Bank as Acting CEO. The bank’s BOD entrusted the responsibility to Kandel after the retirement of Shambhu Nath Gautam.

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