New Delhi: Private sector lender ICICI Bank Ltd has initiated the process of appointment of a non-executive chairman as the term of M.K. Sharma is coming to an end on 30 June.

The process has started and the ICICI Bank board has to take a call if the appointment has to be made from the existing pool of independent directors or by inviting an outsider to take up the position, said people close to the development.

Among various independent directors, seasoned banker and former Bank of Baroda chairman and managing director M.D. Mallya is seen as frontrunner to succeed Sharma.

Mallya was on 29 May appointed to the ICICI Bank board as an independent director.

Other independent directors are Uday Chitale, Dileep Choksi, Neelam Dhawan, Radhakrishnan Nair, V.K. Sharma (LIC chairman), and Lok Ranjan (government nominee director).

ICICI Bank is facing heat over allegations made against its CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar for allegedly providing loans on quid pro quo basis to benefit family members.

The bank board had last week ordered an independent probe into allegations of “conflict of interest" and “quid pro quo" in Kochhar’s dealing with certain borrowers.

READ: ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar asked to be on leave till probe is over

There are allegations of involvement of Kochhar and her family members in a loan provided to Videocon group on a quid pro quo basis.

It was alleged that Videocon Group pumped money into NuPower Renewables, a firm owned by Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar.

In May, markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had served a notice on Kochhar on dealings of the bank with Videocon Group and NuPower.

The scope of enquiry would be comprehensive and include all relevant matters arising out of and in course of examination of the facts and wherever warranted, use of forensics/email reviews and record of statements of relevant personal, the statement had said.

The enquiry, the bank had said, will be conducted by an ‘independent and credible’ person. The whistle-blower had alleged that the bank’s MD and CEO had not adhered to provisions relating to code of conduct of the bank and legal and regulatory provisions relating to conflict of interest over a period of time and also alleged quid pro quo in the course of Kochhar’s work in dealing with certain customers/borrowers of the bank.

In April, the ICICI Bank board had expressed full confidence in Kochhar and ruled out any “quid pro quo" as alleged with regard to certain loan given to Videocon group.

The regulator filing, which came on Monday after close of stock market, further said the enquiry will cover all “connected matters" in the course of investigations to bring the matter to a final close.

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