Sandeep Bakhshi to take over as ICICI Bank Wholetime Director, COO

Lloyd Doyle
June 19, 2018

ICICI Bank board meeting is underway to approve the appointment of retired Supreme Court Judge Justice BN Srikrishna to head the internal probe into allegations against the lender's Managing Director and CEO, Chanda Kochhar.

All the other board members will report to Bakhshi and he will report to Chanda Kochhar. Arvind Gupta, an investor, had previously lodged two complaints - on an alleged conflict of interest and code-of-conduct violation by Kochhar while sanctioning loans to the Videocon group in 2016 and on dealings with the Essar group in 2018.

The initiation of probes by multiple agencies, including the Central Bureau of Investigation, income-tax department and Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and a subsequent complaint from an anonymous whistle-blower led to the board's decision to conduct an independent probe. He will take over on June 19. He will assume his new role from Tuesday.

ICICI Bank has also recommended to the board of directors of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company that it appoint N.S. Kannan as its managing director and CEO, replacing Bakhshi. He will be assisted by the bank's audit committee, which is headed by independent director Uday Chitale.

"Bakhshi will be responsible for handling all the businesses and corporate centre functions at the Bank". All executive directors of the bank and the executive management would report to him. A day before the report is published, the bank sends out a statement terming the charges against Kochhar as "malicious and unfounded rumours".

"Since the events are already recorded and possibly can not be altered, requesting Kochhar to proceed on leave at this point in time may send the wrong signal to stakeholders, especially after the board had showed full confidence and faith in her when the issue first broke out", one of the board members told Business Standard.

Shriram Subramanian, founder of InGovern, a proxy advisory and corporate governance firm, said the board should have asked Kochhar to go on leave a month ago.

The cases under scanner include the bank's Rs 3,250 crore loan to Videocon Group in 2012 and the alleged involvement of Kochhar family members, including her husband Deepak Kochhar, in first sanctioning the loan and then restructuring the same.

2008: Deepak Kochhar, along with Videocon group chairman Venugopal Dhoot, sets up NuPower Renewables. The loans are now considered as non-performing asset on the books of banks.

The market had been anticipating the decision on Kochhar. Shares of ICICI Bank rose by 3.61 per cent on reports of a shuffle in its top management.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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