Chanda Kochhar to go on leave, ICICI appoints Sandeep Bakhshi as COO

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The bank has appointed chief executive of its life insurance arm Sandeep Bakhshi as whole-time director and Chief Operating Officer to run the bank during her absence.

A statement issued by the bank said: "All executive directors on bank's board will report to Bakhshi and Bakhshi will report to Kochhar, who will continue in her role as MD & CEO of the bank". All the executive directors of the bank and its executive management would report to Bakhshi.

Then, in April, Kochhar is reportedly accused of not disclosing that her brother-in-law, Rajiv Kochhar, had helped ICICI Bank's debtors restructure their foreign loans.

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The new COO will be responsible for handling all businesses and corporate operations of the bank. He will take charge as the COO on June 19 for a five-year term.

'In line with the highest levels of governance and corporate standards, Ms. Chanda Kochhar has chose to go on leave till the completion of the enquiry as announced on May 30, 2018.

Chanda Kochhar, the chief executive officer of India's second-biggest lender, has left the building, and her new deputy should waste no time in letting stakeholders know who the real boss is: It's him.

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The bank on May 30 announced that its Board has chose to institute a "comprehensive enquiry" to look into an anonymous whistleblower's complaint alleging that Kochhar had not adhered to provisions relating to "code of conduct" of the bank. Kochhar's husband and brother-in-law received an alleged quid pro quo in return for loans made by ICICI. According to Jefferies, the transition from Kochhar to Bakshi should be smooth considering that Bakshi has been associated with the ICICI bank group for 32 years, working across its diverse verticals (both corporate & retail) and other subsidiaries.

The loan grant came into question since Videocon had invested in NuPower Renewables, a venture by Chanda Kochhar's husband Deepak Kochhar. The ICICI Bank stock on Monday closed up 3.61 percent or 10.2 rupees at Rs 292.5 at the BSE, prior to the board's decision. Before the loan sanction, however, Dhoot transfers a controlling stake in NuPower to an associate, Mahesh Chandra Punglia, who-after securing the loan-sells it to Deepak Kochhar for a mere Rs9 lakh. The board didn't see any conflict of interest in Kochhar not recusing herself from the credit committee that had cleared the Videocon loan. Kochhar went on a planned annual leave, the bank said on June 1.

The reshuffle comes after the bank named retired Supreme Court judge, Justice BN Srikrishna, as the head of its internal probe into complaints against Kochhar by an anonymous whistleblower.

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