Chanda Kochhar has quit ICICI Bank with immediate effect, says a regulatory filing from the bank. The board of ICICI Bank has decided to appoint Sandeep Bakshi as managing director and chief executive for next five years.
"The board of directors of ICICI Bank, accepted the request of Ms Kochhar to seek early retirement from the bank at the earliest. The board accepted this request with immediate effect. The enquiry instituted by the board will remain unaffected by this and certain benefits will be subject to the outcome of the enquiry. Ms Kochhar will also relinquish office from the board of directors of the Bank's subsidiaries," the Bank said in the regulatory filing.
Separately, the Bank says, owing to health reasons MD Mallya its independent director had also resigned from the board.
Ms Kochhar is facing allegations of conflict of interest over a loan to Videocon Group that had in turn lent to a company part-owned by her husband.
The decision of the 56-year-old brings to an end her nine-year reign as the top executive of the bank.
In 2009, Ms Kochhar was appointed as MD and CEO of the bank and has been responsible for the bank's diverse operations in India and overseas.
Her alleged conflict of interest came out in the open in March this year after media reports referred to a Rs3,250-crore loan granted by ICICI Bank to Videocon Group, whose chairman Venugopal Dhoot had business links with her husband Deepak Kochhar. It was alleged that Mr Dhoot transferred a considerable portion of the loan to a company he jointly owned with Mr Kochhar.
The media expose was based on a complaint filed by a whistleblower, who flagged Ms Kochhar's alleged impropriety and conflict of interest in a letter to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister.
The bank initially termed the charges against Ms Kochhar as "malicious and unfounded rumours" but after relentless public gaze, and regulatory pressure, the lender ordered a probe into the whole issue.
In 2012, a consortium of 20 banks and financial institutions sanctioned credit facilities to the Videocon Group for a debt consolidation programme and for its oil and gas capital expenditure programme aggregating to about Rs40,000 crore.
Currently, Supreme Court's former judge BN Srikrishna is heading an independent inquiry into the allegations.
On 30th May, the bank had announced that its board decided to institute a 'comprehensive enquiry' to look into an anonymous whistleblower's complaint alleging that Ms Kochhar had not adhered to provisions relating to the bank's "code of conduct".
In June, Ms Kochhar decided to proceed on leave.
Thereafter, Mr Bakshi was appointed as the wholetime director and chief operating officer (COO) of ICICI Bank.
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Kochhars’ business links with Videocon dates back to early 1990s at least