New Delhi: With ICICI Bank Chief Executive Chanda Kochhar going on leave pending the completion of a probe over an alleged conflict of interest, group veteran Sandeep Bakhshi will take over as its interim head.
Bakhshi, who currently heads ICICI’s life insurance arm, will take up a newly created position of chief operating officer at the bank for a five-year term beginning June 19, pending regulatory approvals, the bank said in a statement late on Monday.
Bakhshi has been the managing director and chief executive officer of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited, a subsidiary of ICICI Bank Ltd since August 2010. He was responsible for the non-life insurance business of ICICI Group. The banking veteran served as the chief executive officer and managing director of ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited of ICICI Bank Ltd, since March 19, 2007, until April 30, 2009.
Bakhshi will report to the bank’s board during the period of Kochhar’s leave and will be responsible for handling all the businesses and corporate centre functions, ICICI Bank said. All the executive directors of the bank and its executive management would report to Bakhshi.
A mechanical engineer from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, and a post-graduate in Management from Xavier Labour Relations Institute, Jamshedpur (XLRI), Bakhshi joined ICICI in 1986 as an officer in the operations department in the Northern Zonal office, Delhi. His work responsibilities included business development, project appraisals, project monitoring and business re-structuring. He served as Senior Vice President of ICICI since 1996. He was also handed over the charge of risk management for the Northern Zonal office. He subsequently looked after the corporate clients for the Northern and Eastern regions of ICICI Limited before joining ICICI Lombard in 2002.
Bakhshi’s first day at work was at a computer marketing company, ORG Systems, in 1983.
In an interview to Economic Times, he once said, “I wanted to spend a lot of time outside of normal life… in jungles. There is a lot of fascination around wildlife, watching predators, foxes, jackals.” The now ICICI head normally visits five-six wildlife sanctuaries a year.
Vintage bollywood attracts him and he prefers listening to old Hindi songs, with trimurti composers — SD Burman, OP Nayyar and Madan Mohan as his favourites.
Bakhshi, however, regrets having cleared the National Defence Academy tests and not pursuing it.
NS Kannan, currently an executive director at ICICI Bank, is set to be the new CEO of ICICI Prudential Life, the bank said.