Sandeep Bakhshi, till now the CEO of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance has been given the assignment of ICICI bank’s top slot. He is now the new chief operating officer (COO) of country’s largest private sector bank. His predecessor, Chanda Kochhar has gone on leave, pending the completion of a probe over an alleged conflict of interest that has led to some ethical and financial complications.
The ICICI Bank board has approved the appointment of Bakhshi to the post of COO for the next five years. Had he not pursued his management studies, he would have been a top army officer, since he had cleared NDA, but regretted that he did not join it. He will be responsible for all the businesses and corporate functions at the bank. He will report to the bank’s board.
Though there were a number of other senior officers at ICICI, who could have been chosen but the choice of Bakhshi was seen as he is a leader who works differently. He stays away from factionalism and thus able to take the team along.
Bakhshi is credited with taking the first Indian insurance company public to a considerable height. He is known to be as “cool as a cucumber” and is known for stability.
Bakhshi earlier headed the group’s non-life insurance company ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd for two years between March 2007 and April 2009. He assumed the charge of deputy managing director and head of retail before shifting to the life insurance wing of the bank in August 2010.
With a lot of working experience in the sectors of project financing, risk management and corporate banking, he is regarded as an institution builder.
Bakhshi was called back to ICICI Bank after serving as managing director and CEO of ICICI Prudential for almost a long stint of eight years. Technically, he will be the senior-most official at ICICI Bank after Kochhar, but since she is asked to proceed to leave, he will be reporting to the Board of the bank.
Bakhshi studied mechanical engineering. He is also a post-graduate in Management from Xavier Labour Relations Institute, Jamshedpur. He is pitted to face the challenge to restore the concerns of investors, shareholders and regulators and bring them back into the mainstream of corporate governance. Investors look at him to redress the problems of the bad loan. This has been a blot on the bank for about the preceding three financial years.
A top banker says on his choice, that the appointment is the most practical middle ground that the board could have resorted to. His priorities would be to get the leadership team to and install the support system as well as assist in the conduction of investigation in a fair and transparent manner.
People believe that Bakshi will be successful in taking ICICI Bank shares to a new height which had been underperforming for quite a time as compared to its private sector peers over bad loan concerns. After his appointment, these concerns over governance issues and corporate loan demand are also expected to improve the share prices.