Chanda Kochhar quits as ICICI Bank CEO, Sandeep Bakhshi to take charge

Chanda Kochhar on Thursday quit as the MD and CEO of ICICI Bank. Kochhar, who has been at the helm since 2009, will be relieved with with immediate effect.

Chanda Kochhar quits as ICICI Bank CEO, Sandeep Bakhshi to take charge

However, the enquiry instituted by the ICICI Bank’s board will remain unaffected by the resignation. The board said certain benefits will be subject to the outcome of the enquiry. “Ms Kochhar will also relinquish office from the Board of Directors of the Bank’s subsidiaries,” it added.

In a letter to stock exchanges, the ICICI Bank’s board said it has accepted Kochhar’s request to seek early retirement. Kochhar’s term was set to expire on March 31, 2019.

Meahwhile, the board has appointed Sandeep Bakhshi as Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer. Bakhshi’s appointment will be for a period of five years until October 3, 2023, subject to regulatory and other approvals.

Kochhar will relinquish office from the boards of bank’s subsidiaries. Back in August, Kochhar was reappointed as a director on the board of bank’s broking arm ICICI Securities.

The ICICI Bank had initiated probe against Chanda Kochhar after investor Arvind Gupta had alleged quid-pro-quo in sanctioning of Rs 3,250 crore loan to the Videocon Group.

Gupta had alleged that Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar, who owns NuPower Renewable Group, amassed wrongful personal gains when Kochhar-led ICICI Bank sanctioned loans worth Rs 3,250 crore to various private companies belonging to the Videocon Industries Limited.

However, the ICICI Bank board had initially backed its CEO saying that no individual employee, irrespective of his or her position, has the ability to influence credit decision at the bank. After facing immense pressure from shareholders, the bank appointed Justice B N Srikrishna-led panel to investigate the allegations.

The Chanda Kochhar saga dominated the annual general meeting of ICICI Bank last month, with shareholders seeking clarity on the allegations of impropriety against the outgoing MD & CEO, apart from demanding action against her.

While many shareholders had sought stern action from the bank on any misdoings on the part of Kochhar, some had also called for a restructuring of the top leadership given the allegations and questioned the board for initially backing Kochhar.

Multiple agencies, including CBI and markets regulator Sebi, are already probing the alleged lapses involving Kochhar and her family members.

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