ICICI benches Chanda, at last

Chanda Kochhar

Confirming the development, the ICICI Bank said on June 18, 2018, issued a statement and said that all Executive Directors on the board of the firm and the executive management will report to Bakhshi.

ICICI Bank's board, which had initially backed Kochhar calling the alleged nepotism charges against her "malicious and unfounded", last month said it would institute a probe headed by an independent person into allegations raised by an anonymous whistleblower. Kochhar went on a planned annual leave, the bank said on June 1. The board didn't see any conflict of interest in Kochhar not recusing herself from the credit committee that had cleared the Videocon loan.

ICICI Bank's MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar, at the centre of a row over conflict of interest, has chose to go on leave till an independent probe into the allegations is completed. 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.

Kochhar, who has been in sharp focus over the loans ICICI sanctioned to the Videocon Group, is now on leave but has more than year in her as CEO under the contract. The media circulated the report stating that Kochhar along with her family members is involved in a loan provided to Videocon group on quid pro quo basis. N.S. Kannan, the bank's chief financial officer under Kochhar, is being airlifted to the group's life-insurance venture whose CEO is being parachuted into the mothership to help steady it. Indian taxpayers are naturally angry. He can't afford to let the ICICI crisis fester. The primary responsibility of governing boards is protection of shareholder interests. The official version of events is that Kochhar has herself made a decision to go on leave. All the executive directors of the bank and its executive management would report to Bakhshi.

It's a fresh beginning at ICICI.

But why should she?

Kochhar's celebrated banking rival, Axis Bank managing director and CEO Shikha Sharma has curtailed the tenure of her fourth term at her bank to six months (now December 31, 2018) from the earlier three years (to end May 2021), after the RBI called for a reconsideration recently.

The two momentous decisions that will change the course for India's second largest lender under allegations of partisan loan sanctions, are likely to be announced today after a crucial board meeting, the Economic Times reported.

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