ICICI Bank names Sandeep Bakhshi as COO: A military aspirant turned banker is being prepped to battle crises

Private lending major ICICI Bank has appointed Sandeep Bakhshi as wholetime director and chief operating officer (COO), as MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar volunteered "to go on leave till the completion of [an] inquiry", which seeks to determine alleged wrongdoing in the sanctioning of a Rs 3,250 crore ICICI loan to the Videocon Group.

The bank's board said that Bakhshi, who heads ICICI’s life insurance arm, will serve as the lender's COO for five years beginning 19 June. Bakhshi will report to the board for as long as Kochhar is on leave and will handle the business and corporate centre functions

According to the Mint, Bakhshi's to-do list will include managing investors, shareholders and regulators, who have questioned the bank's corporate governance standards and its handling of the Videocon loan controversy. The lender also has its share of the non performing assets (NPAs) problem and the COO will be expected to find a solution.

Fitch warning

Global ratings agency Fitch has said that ICICI Bank had "gaps" in its risk control mechanisms. "An ongoing investigation at ICICI Bank on extending a loan with a potential conflict of interest has also focused authorities' attention on the bank's governance," the ratings agency said in a note last week.

A file photo of Sandeep Bakhshi. News18

A file photo of Sandeep Bakhshi. News18

Fitch warned that adverse findings may create a "reputational risk", especially if they highlight broader weaknesses in management.

Bakhshi now has the difficult job of pulling the bank out of this mess. The industry, however, says he won't have a problem navigating crises.

Here is all you need to know about Bakhshi:

Bakhshi, according to the Mint, is  as “cool as a cucumber” and cares for stability. “Bakhshi is part of the ICICI culture. So, from that perspective, he is the right choice as the senior-most person within the ICICI umbrella after Kochhar,” Shriram Subramanian, founder of proxy advisory firm InGovern, told Firstpost.

Early in life, Bakhshi wanted to head to the prestigious National Defence Academy (NDA). But dropped that plan, despite having cleared the necessary tests.

A mechanical engineer from the Punjab Engineering College, Bakhshi has a post-graduate degree in management from XLRI, Jamshedpur, according to the bank.

News18 reported that his first job was at a computer marketing company, ORG Systems, in 1983. He joined ICICI Ltd in 1986 and looked after the firm's corporate clients for the northern and the eastern regions before joining ICICI Lombard in 2002.

He then served as the deputy managing director of the bank before going to head the group's life insurance business, in 2010. During his tenure, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company became one of India's top private life insurance providers. He is also credited with taking the first Indian insurance company public.

A wildlife enthusiast, Bakhshi visits several wildlife sanctuaries every year to decompress, according to The Economic Times.

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Jun 19, 2018 16:48 PM

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