ICICI Bank on Thursday said it has accepted Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar’s request for an early retirement, the bank’s board said in a filing submitted in the Bombay Stock Exchange.
The board has appointed Sandeep Bakshi as managing director and chief executive officer till October 3, 2023, subject to regulatory and other approvals. Bakshi was appointed chief operating officer when Kochhar went on leave in June following an investigation into allegations of conflict of interest against her.
“The enquiry instituted by the Board will remain unaffected by this and certain benefits will be subject to the outcome of the enquiry,” the bank said. “Kochhar will also relinquish office from the board of directors of the bank’s subsidiaries.”
Bakshi has spent over 30 years at ICICI. In 2010, he was put in charge of ICICI Prudential Life. Under his leadership, ICICI Prudential’s Assets under Management rose to Rs 1.4 lakh crore in 2018 from Rs 57,319 crore, according to The Economic Times.
“Every day I believe that I am in ICICI because I need ICICI,” he told the daily recently. “ICICI can get 100 Sandeep Bakhshis, but for me, there is no better opportunity than ICICI.”
Videocon loan case
Kochchar’s exit came in the aftermath of questions being raised over a Rs 3,250-crore loan that the bank sanctioned to the Videocon Group in 2012. Six months after the company received the loan, Videocon Group CEO Venugopal Dhoot allegedly provided crores of rupees to NuPower Renewables, which was founded by Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar. The Videocon loan from ICICI Bank was part of the Rs 40,000-crore loan that it secured from a consortium of 20 banks.
In March, the Central Bureau of Investigation initiated a preliminary inquiry to determine whether the bank had violated any law in sanctioning the loan.
The board had then backed Kochhar, claiming that “malicious and unfounded rumours” were being spread to “malign the bank”. However, it announced the inquiry on May 30 after an anonymous whistleblower levelled allegations against Chanda Kochhar.