Harried fund houses meet ICICI Bank chairman, discuss succession plan if Chanda Kochhar steps down

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Published: April 19, 2018 11:40:18 AM

Harried fund houses, which have a huge exposure to ICICI Bank, have met non-executive chairman MK Sharma after a litany of allegations surfaced against Chanda Kochhar and have discussed all the issues, including succession planning, according to a source.

The fund houses have over Rs 30,000 crore exposure to the second-largest private sector bank ICICI Bank. (Image: Reuters)

Harried fund houses, which have a huge exposure to ICICI Bank, have met non-executive chairman MK Sharma after a litany of allegations surfaced against Chanda Kochhar and have discussed all the issues, including succession planning, according to a source. “There have been meetings between Sharma and the mutual fund houses to assuage their concerns. The issue of the succession plan was also discussed in the event of Kochhar stepping down,” a bank source told PTI today.

According to market data, the fund houses have over Rs 30,000 crore exposure to the second largest private sector bank in the country making it the second most fund bought lender in the country. Domestic and global institutions and fund houses own over 72 per cent of the bank. At the number of meetings, which began earlier this month, Sharma is understood to have allayed fears of a leadership vacuum since the bank has a strong pool of second-rung leaders after Kochhar, the managing director and chief executive.

It can be noted that the ICICI Bank scrip has taken a severe beating following the allegations of conflict of interest against Kochhar surfaced late March. The allegations are mainly around the bank extending over Rs 3,250 crore to the now-bankrupt Videocon group before her husband Deepak Kochhar bought out the Dhoots from the green energy firm Nupower in the early-2012. The bank board came out with a statement on March 28 supporting Kochhar, but there have been reports later of there existing some divisions where the non-executive directors, especially the ones appointed by the government or state-run entities, having a differing view.

Earlier, Sharma said that Kochhar did not recuse herself from a meeting to decide on a loan to an entity where her husband was a shareholder at some point of time. Global rating agency Fitch had raised concerns over the bank’s corporate governance practices following the revelations. The meetings also assume significance in view of rival Axis Bank deciding to shorten the tenure of its chief executive Shikha Sharma to just about seven months from a three-year fourth term after the RBI reportedly raised concerns about dud assets management during her tenure.

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