Chanda Kochhar's current term as MD and CEO of ICICI may be cut short

Chanda Kochhar
Highlights

Chanda Kochhar continues to be the ICICI Bank’s MD and CEO, though she has been asked to prolong her leave by the board of directors, until the completion of the internal enquiry into allegations of conflict of interest into loans to the Videocon group.

NEW DELHI: Chanda Kochhar continues to be the ICICI Bank’s MD and CEO, though she has been asked to prolong her leave by the board of directors, until the completion of the internal enquiry into allegations of conflict of interest into loans to the Videocon group.

Eighty-three days after the ICICI Bank reposed "full faith and confidence" in her, stating there was "no question of any quid pro quo/nepotism/conflict of interest", it was announced that Kochhar has been asked to go on a leave, amidst conjectures of her stepping down.

A preliminary enquiry into allegations that the ICICI Bank chief’s husband, Deepak Kochhar's company ‘NuPower Renewabales’ received an investment from a Videocon group company as a quid pro quo for a loan from the bank, has been registered by The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), being followed by a fresh allegation by Arvind Gupta that the bank favoured the Ruias of Essar for allegedly round-tripping investments into NuPower.

The board has appointed Sandeep Bakhshi (57) as COO of the bank to handle its daily operations. Bakhshi is the current MD & CEO of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance. His five-year tenure begins today, and he will be reporting to the board during Kochhar’s period of leave, instead of reporting of Kochhar.

Kochhar's current term ends in March 2019, and she could have looked forward to another term. But with the multiple investigations and inquiries by CBI, Sebi and Srikrishna, the odds are reckoned to be against her. An adverse finding could even cut short her present tenure.

Bakshi was deputy MD of ICICI Bank before assuming charge of its life insurance subsidiary, and he has been appointed COO for five years. From these factors, it can be interpreted that Bhakshi is in the position to succeed Kochhar (56).

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