Chanda Kochar is ICICI Bank’s new chief executive (Lead)

December 19th, 2008 - 5:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Dec 19 (IANS) ICICI Bank joint managing director Chanda Kochar was Friday named the bank’s next chief executive. She will assume charge May 1 from K.V. Kamath, who will take over as the non-executive chairman from N. Vaghul.Kochar, a veteran with ICICI Bank - India’s largest private sector bank - has been serving on the board of directors since 2001. Having worked in every department of the bank, her appointment came as no surprise given her administrative capabilities.

However, Kochar wasn’t always the only woman executive on the ICICI board. Till recently, the bank’s top leadership had two other women.

Lalita Gupte, who still heads the bank’s venture capital firm, ICICI Ventures, joined the organisation upon completing college.

Another stalwart, Kalpana Morparia, was the deputy managing director when she left the bank to head JP Morgan’s operations in India.

Kochar seems to have been a hot favourite since long. After earning a management degree from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, she started her career in 1984 with ICICI, then known as the Industrial Credit and Investment Corp of India, at its project finance department.

During her career prior to becoming a member of the board, she worked and held leadership positions across all key businesses, including corporate lending, project finance and retail banking. Kochar was a key figure in the team that established ICICI Bank during the 1990s and subsequently headed the infrastructure finance and major client groups.

She is particularly credited with building the retail business, guiding it from its nascent stages to establish a 1,400-strong branch and a huge 4,530-ATM network.

It might not be smooth sailing for Kochar, though. Analysts appearing on television Friday compared her with outgoing chief executive Kamath and the golden period the bank enjoyed under his leadership.

It remains now to be seen if Kochar can guide the bank through one of the most difficult phases in the financial world.

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