(Image source from: Livemint)
The Chief Executive Officer of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar, has quit around six months after getting involved in a nepotism scandal.
ICICI Bank notified the Bombay Stock Exchange, on October 4 that it had accepted Kochhar's request for an early retirement.
Sandeep Bakhshi, at one time CEO of its insurance subsidiary, ICICI Prudential Life, will take office as managing director and CEO, ICICI Bank said in a regulatory filing (pdf). ICICI Bank appointed Bakhshi, earlier in June as whole-time director and chief operating officer to manage the company.
Kochhar's retirement comes about two years after a whistleblower first accused her of discrimination and favouritism in granting a loan to NuPower Renewables, a company established by her husband, Deepak Kochhar. The whistleblower's letter was sent to prime minister Narendra Modi, but resurfaced on a blog in March this year, placing Kochhar right in the eye of the ensuing storm.
While ICICI Bank first renounced the allegations, it was shortly forced to launch an independent investigation, after the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Board of India began inquiries against Kochhar and the company. Meanwhile, Kochhar went on planned leave.
The increased investigation came amidst the Indian banking sector's struggle with a mountain of bad debt and a series of embarrassing banking scams that wiped out billions of dollars. In this context, the accusations against Kochhar were too serious to ignore.
Her move marks a bitter conclusion to the time period of a handful of successful women in the Indian banking sector.
Over the past year, the industry has seen a number of key female leaders fall from grace, including Usha Ananthasubramanian, CEO of the public sector Allahabad Bank, and others who were forced to leave office following incumbency defaced by weakening profitability.
By Sowmya Sangam