Money & Banking

ICICI Bank working on a succession plan

Surabhi |K Ram Kumar | | Updated on: Apr 19, 2018
image caption

Board exploring options to revive positions of Joint Managing Director, Deputy MD; no immediate plan to replace Chanda Kochhar

ICICI Bank’s board is looking at the option of reviving the positions of Joint Managing Director / Deputy Managing Director, who could step into the shoes of the Managing Director & CEO as and when a vacancy arises.

“The private sector bank’s board may be working on a succession plan to ensure the smooth handover of reins at the top as and when the need arises,” industry sources told BusinessLine .


This comes in the wake of the recent controversy surrounding the alleged financial dealings between Deepak Kochhar-promoted NuPower Renewables, the Videocon Group and Rajiv Kochhar-promoted Avista Advisory. Deepak Kochhar is the spouse of ICICI Bank’s MD & CEO Chanda Kochhar, while Rajiv is Deepak’s brother. While this has led to a clamour for Chanda Kochhar’s resignation, the bank’s board is considering a plan to strengthen the organisation by restoring the top-tier structure, whereby besides the MD & CEO, there is a Joint MD and Deputy Managing Director.

Earlier, ICICI Bank had a Joint MD. Chanda Kochhar held the position before being elevated to her current role in 2009.

Questions around a succession plan at ICICI Bank have been doing the rounds for the last few weeks, but sources stress that there is no immediate plan to replace Chanda Kochhar. However, some of the investors and board directors have informally have had discussions over the issue.

“As of now, there is no immediate plan to appoint a new or interim MD and CEO. There have been some conversations on the issue but not on a formal basis,” said a person familiar with the development.

The bigger question has been about who will succeed Kochhar when the need arises. Among the contenders for the top slot from within the bank could be Executive Directors NS Kannan, Vishakha Mulye, Vijay Chandok and Anup Bagchi. Among the EDs, Kannan is the senior-most. He was elevated to the board in May 2009. The tenure of the incumbent MD & CEO is up to March-end 2019.

However, the possibility of Sandeep Bakhshi, MD & CEO, ICICI Prudential Life, also exists, as he earlier served the bank as Deputy Managing Director and Head of Retail.

Sources also point out that outsiders, who were earlier with ICICI Bank, could also be considered for the top position. They include Rajiv Sabharwal, MD & CEO, Tata Capital; and Zarin Daruwala, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank. Till now, the board has backed Kochhar and has reposed full faith in her.

However, sources said the May 7 meeting of the bank’s board to discuss the annual results is likely to see a lot of debate on the allegations.

MK Sharma, the Non-Executive Chairman of ICICI Bank, on Wednesday met mutual fund houses to discuss the recent troubles at the private sector lender and investigations into the ₹3,250-crore loan to the Videocon Group.

The discussions are understood to have also centred around a possible succession plan. On Thursday, stock exchanges also sought a clarification from ICICI Bank on the reported meeting.

Published on April 19, 2018

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