LIC of India
An advertisement of the state-owned insurance group and investment company Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) is pictured at the entrance of a metro station in New Delhi on March 1, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

Mumbai: Life Insurance Corp. of India has appointed Sunil Agrawal as the chief financial officer, according to people familiar with the matter, as the state-backed insurer prepares for the nation’s largest initial public offering.

Agrawal’s appointment marks the first time LIC has hired an outsider for the firm’s top finance job and is aimed at aligning the 65-year-old insurer with market standards as it seeks to go public, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.

The CFO of Reliance Nippon Life Insurance Co Ltd. until 2018, Agrawal has been appointed on a contractual basis from this month, the people said. LIC will use Agrawal’s experience to engage with investors and new shareholders as it prepares for the IPO, the people added.

His appointment comes almost six months after LIC advertised for a CFO in September. An LIC spokesperson declined to comment on the appointment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is counting on LIC’s IPO to help bridge a gaping budget deficit by the end of this month and hopes to raise about Rs650 billion ($8.6 billion) by diluting a 5 per cent stake in the insurer. However, the ongoing turmoil in global markets after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has cast a cloud on the plan to start the offering this month.