ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar steps down

India’s third-largest lender by assets, ICICI Bank Ltd, has today appointed Sandeep Bakhshi as chief executive for a term of five years, replacing Chanda Kochhar, who sought early retirement.

The former head of the bank’s life insurance arm, Bakhshi took the helm on an interim basis in June, when Kochhar went on leave during an inquiry into an alleged conflict of interest that triggered months of controversy.

The board of directors of ICICI Bank on accepted her request of early retirement from the Bank at earliest. Her resignation followed serious allegations of her sweet deal with Videocon. Kochhar, 56, who had headed ICICI Bank since May 2009, is also stepping down from the board of directors of its units.

The bank said its board has accepted the request with immediate effect. The board also said that the ongoing enquiry conducted by the board will be unaffected by her stepping down and the outcome of the enquiry will have certain benefits. The board will appoint Sandeep Bakhshi as Managing Director& Officer.

The bank said “His appointment will be for a period of five years until October 3, 2023, subject to regulatory and other approvals. The other terms and conditions of his appointment, such as remuneration, would remain unchanged”. Another Independent Director MD Mallya also resigned due to health reason as the bank said.

At its 24th annual general meeting organized by the bank, Shareholders of the bank raised questions on the allegations of quid pro quo by the CEO and her family members with the Videocon group and other entities. Kochhar was not present at the meeting since she was on leave until an eternal enquiry is completed into alleged conflict of interest.

Kochhar and ICICI Bank was served show-cause notices by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) after its preliminary examination favored initiating adjudication proceedings against them for alleged violation of listing disclosure norms related to ‘conflict of interest’ in business dealings of her husband with Videocon Group.

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