Sandeep Bakhshi might become ICICI Bank’s interim CEO

Sandeep Bakhshi might become ICICI Bank’s interim CEO

Mumbai: As the discussion about the reshuffling of the top management in ICICI bank continues, there are chances that the insurance venture’s chief, Sandeep Bakhshi might become the interim CEO of the bank.

The reshuffle is in the backdrop of investigations into ICICI Bank chief executive Chanda Kochhar’s alleged violation of lender’s code of conduct. If the sources are to be believed, the board is considering about the reshuffle as BN Srikrishna, a retired Supreme Court judge investigates the role of Kochhar. Till the investigation is on, Kochhar is likely to be on leave.

The sources informed that the board is yet to sign off on the decision to make the changes but the discussion on having the senior most as the officiating CEO is on.

With Bakhshi taking charge as interim CEO of the private lender in the absence of Chanda Kochhar, someone else from the bank might move to ICICI Prudential Life to head it in the interim. Though, some members of the board feel that an interim CEO could be a bit destabilizing for the institution. The announcement regarding the same might come as early as this week.

Sources also informed that an informal message has been given to the officials of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) about Sandeep Bakhshi taking up a different role and information will be passed on to the regulator duly.

Conflict of interest allegations were framed against Kochhar by a whistleblower over the loans to Videocon Industries. It was alleged that she did not disclose her husband Deepak Kochhar’s business dealings with the Dhoots of Videocon. While ICICI Bank chairman MK Sharma has said that the board was convinced that Kochhar was in the clear, a second accusation was made recently on similar grounds. The board, under criticism over the matter, ordered an independent probe by Srikrishna.

A person involved in the decision said that the board felt he would be the best person to conduct this enquiry. He said (on the condition of anonymity), “Justice Srikrishna is an independent and credible name, who has a good understanding of the financial markets.” Srikrishna will investigate whether Kochhar violated the bank’s code of conduct and the allegations relating to conflict of interest.

Srikrishan also chaired Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) and currently is head of the committee of experts deliberating a data protection framework for the country as well as he was also the head of the commission that investigated the Mumbai 1992-93 communal riots. The board has not specified any timeframe for concluding the enquiry, sources said.