The ICICI Bank has been under a lot of duress of late with its CEO Chanda Kochhar facing allegations of quid pro quo in sanctioning loans to Videocon Group. With Kochhar going on leave till the allegations against her are investigated by an internal panel, the reins of the second-largest private lender in India will be in the hands of Sandeep Bakhshi. He has been named the Wholetime Director and Chief Operating Officer (COO) designate by the ICICI Board. This means he will effectively become the boss after getting the green light from the regulators and other authorities.
Bakhshi will hold the post of ICICI Bank COO for a period of five years. He will be responsible for all the business and corporate centre functions of the bank during his tenure as COO. During this time, he will report to bank's MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar. Till the time she is away, he will be answerable to the ICICI Bank board.
Assuming office in turbulent times, Bakhshi has his work cut out for him. For starters, he will have to make investors, shareholders and regulators believe in the corporate governance standards, which are being questioned after the Videocon loan scam came to light. Bakhshi will also have to promptly deal with the stressed assets on the hands of ICICI Bank.
Dealing swiftly these challenges might spell big rewards for Bakhshi. With Kochhar set to retire on March 31, 2019, Bakhshi might become the top choice for the post of chief executive. He is also the senior-most official at ICICI after Chanda Kochhar, which might help his ascension to the top job at the ICICI Bank.
An XLRI alumnus, Bakshi started his professional career at a computer marketing company ORG Systems on 1983. He came to ICICI Ltd in 1986 and handled the corporate clients of the company for the northern and the eastern regions. He later moved on to ICICI Lombard in 2002 where he was responsible for business development, project appraisals, project monitoring and business re-structuring.
He was appointed as MD and CEO of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company in August 01, 2010, a position he held till his latest appointment. In his stead, N S Kannan, the executive director at ICICI Bank, will now become the CEO of ICICI Prudential. Also, while Kannan will no longer be part of the ICICI Bank board of directors, Bakhshi will keep his seat at the ICICI Prudential board.
Meanwhile, ICICI Bank stock slipped marginally on Tuesday following Bakhshi's appointment as the COO. The scrip had soared more than three per cent on Monday after the ICICI Board acnnounced its decision.