Videocon loan row: ICICI Bank's Board names Sandeep Bakhshi as COO; Chanda Kochhar to go on indefinite leave
ICICI Bank boss Chanda Kochhar volunteers to go on leave till the Justice BN Srikrishna probe ends. That enquiry was instituted to examine allegations of conflict of interest against Kochhar.
ICICI Bank, battling a crisis following whistleblower allegations, named group veteran Sandeep Bakhshi as chief operating officer and said that long-serving boss Chanda Kochhar will go on leave pending the completion of an internal probe.
That probe will seek to determine alleged wrongdoing in the sanctioning of a Rs 3,250 crore ICICI loan to the Videocon Group.
The bank's Board, at its meeting on 18 June, decided to appoint Bakhshi as the lender's wholetime director and COO. His appointment as COO will be for a period of five years, subject to regulatory approvals.
Bakhshi will take over as the COO from 19 June or on the date of regulatory and other approvals, whichever is later, the Mumbai-traded lender said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). Bakhshi will report to MD and CEO Kochhar, who will continue in her role.
However, Kochhar has volunteered to go on leave till the completion of the probe, instituted to examine allegations of conflict of interest against her. During Kochhar's period of leave, Bakhshi will report to the Board.
Bakhshi has been the MD and CEO of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company. The ICICI Bank Board also recommended to the Board of Directors of ICICI Prudential Life to appoint NS Kannan as the MD and CEO of the company subject to regulatory and other approvals, the statement added.
ICICI Bank has mandated retired Supreme Court (SC) judge BN Srikrishna to preside over the above-mentioned probe, which will look into allegations that Kochhar did not adhere to provisions relating to the bank's 'code of conduct', and also examine whether Kochhar was involved in any quid pro quo transactions with certain borrowers.
"The scope of enquiry would be comprehensive and will include all relevant matters arising out of and in the course of examination of the facts and wherever warranted, use of forensics/e-mail reviews and record statements of relevant personnel, etc," the bank had said on 31 May.
The Board had on 28 March reposed full faith in Kochhar after allegations of possible conflict of interest, a lack of disclosure and possible quid pro quo first surfaced against her, following a complaint by activist shareholder Arvind Gupta.
Even as the Board stood by her, details of misdoings emerged in the media, triggering a multi-agency probe against Kochhar by various law enforcement agencies.
The cases under scanner include the bank's Rs 3,250 crore loan to the Videocon Group in 2012 and the involvement of Kochhar family members, including Chanda's husband Deepak, in the sanctioning of the loan and the restructuring of the same.
With inputs from agencies
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