Customers stand outside an ICICI Bank branch in the Gandhi Road area of Ahmadabad, Gujarat. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

ICICI Bank Names Former Bureaucrat Girish Chaturvedi Non-Executive Chairman

ICICI Bank Ltd. named retired bureaucrat Girish Chaturvedi as its part-time non-executive chairman at a time the board’s role has been called into question over how it handled allegations of impropriety against Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar.

The appointment will be effective July 1 or the day the Reserve Bank of India grants approval, whichever is later, India’s second-largest private lender by assets said in an exchange filing. The term of incumbent Chairman MK Sharma ends on June 30.

The board also appointed Chaturvedi as an additional (independent) director effective July 1 for three years, subject to shareholder approval.

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Chaturvedi was unaware about his appointment when approached by BloombergQuint. “Don't have any official confirmation from the ICICI Bank board. It had just asked for my biodata,” he said, adding that he will accept the role of chairman. He was confident that his previous experience in the financial sector during his stint in the Indian Administrative Service would be of help.

He will take over while Kochhar is on leave pending a probe into an anonymous whistleblower’s allegations of impropriety against her. While the bank didn’t reveal the details, she has been under the scanner over soured loans to the Videocon Group, whose promoter Venugopal Dhoot had business dealings with her husband. The board initially backed Kochhar but then decided to set up an independent probe. It named Sandeep Bakhshi as its chief operating officer to run the day-to-day operations in her absence.

Chaturvedi declined to comment on the controversy around Kochhar. “It’s not fair on my part to say that things with the ICICI Bank board should have happened in any particular manner.”

Chaturvedi, a 1977 batch officer of the IAS, belonged to the Uttar Pradesh cadre. He has served as secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and additional secretary (financial services) in the Ministry of Finance. He was also on the boards IDBI Bank Ltd., Bank of Baroda Ltd. and Canara Bank Ltd.

He holds a master’s in physics and social policy from the London School of Economics, and a doctorate in economic history from the University of Oxford.

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