Immensely known for her role in moulding the retail banking in India, Chanda Kochhar stepped down from the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ICICI on October 4, 2018. The allegation put on her by the CBI related to Videocon Bad loans, forced her to tumble down from the summit she scaled since a decade. After the board of ICICI bank parked her on indefinite leave, she solicited an early retirement and the bank agreed to accept the resignation.
Who is Chanda Kochhar?
Kochhar was born on 17 November 1961 in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. After the completion of her graduation in 1982, Chanda Kochhar went ahead to pursue the study of cost accountancy from Institute of Cost Accountants of India. Post completion, Kochhar did a Master of Management Studies degree from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai.
Chanda Kochhar went on to receive many laurels while completing her studies. Wockhardt Gold Medal for Excellence in Management Studies and J.N. Bose Gold Medal in Cost Accountancy are some of them.
From Management Trainee to MD-CEO, the ICICI Bank Journey
Kochhar joined the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) as a management trainee in 1984. With her enormous dedication towards the bank, she became very instrumental in its establishment. In 1994, Chanda Kochhar was promoted to Assistant General Manager. Two years later in 1996, she supervised the recently constructed Infrastructure Industry Group of ICICI Bank. Under this vertical, she directed the creation of dedicated industry expertise from the telecommunication, transportation and power sector.
Chanda Kochhar was promoted as a General Manager after a couple of years in 1998. Besides handling the ICICI top 200 clients, she also headed the strategy and e-commerce divisions of ICICI Bank. In 2001, Kochhar became the executive director and later in the year 2006; she was appointed the Deputy Managing Director.
While Chanda Kochhar was handling the international and corporate businesses of the bank, she was elected as the Joint Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the bank in 2007. In the year 2009, she was designated as the Managing Director and the CEO of ICICI bank. It was under her supervision that ICICI bank diversified overseas and touched new heights of Global presence and operation. Alongside Banking, Chanda Kochhar also headed the Insurance concern of ICICI bank.
The Controversy and Allegation
Arvind Gupta, a whistleblower, wrote a blog on the Videocon Loan issue in 2016. He stated that Kochhar had practiced corporate misconduct while providing loans to the Videocon Group. He reported that in 2012, ICICI bank provided a loan of INR 3,250 crores to the Videocon industries due to the business relationship between Kochhar’s husband, Deepak Kochhar. Later on, Videocon could not return the loan and declared as a non-performing asset.
Initially, the bank denied of any such irregular movements with their interest in providing a loan to the Videocon Group and it is the general drill that is followed in such circumstances. However, later on, when matters gained momentum, ICICI bank decided to put forward an independent inquiry into the allegations set on Kochhar.
The CBI registered a preliminary complaint that Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot had invested in NuPower Renewables two years ago with Deepak Kochhar. Later on, when there was a conflict of interest, series of substantial complex investments took place which raised eyebrows and finally was beyond discretion. One such was the inflated profit of ICICI bank when it started delay in the provision for Non-performing assets worth at least USD3 billion over the past eight years.
Although the current five-year tenure as CEO was to end on March 31, 2019, Chanda Kochhar sought for early retirement. However, the inquiry running her would be unaffected. Sandeep Bakshi, a virtuoso in the banking industry would now be the Managing Director and CEO after Chanda Kochhar’s resignation.