Chanda Kochhar, 47, who was, on Friday, named as successor to ICICI Bank MD & CEO K.V. Kamath is “articulate, organised, dynamic and driven”.
These qualities, and her wide-ranging experience in corporate, retail and international banking are what make her the right person to lead the bank at a time when its high growth rates have faltered in the backdrop of an unprecedented global financial meltdown.
In fact, it was she who mainly drove Kamath’s vision of expanding ICICI Bank’s retail banking portfolio. This strategy enabled it to overtake its peers, and marked out Kochhar as a frontrunner to succeed Kamath.
Commenting on her appointment, Kamath, who recruited her almost 25 years ago, said: “The depth of experience, multi-dimensional domain knowledge and strategic thinking that she brings to the role will take ICICI Group to even greater heights.”
Kochhar, currently ICICI Bank’s joint MD & CFO, will take charge on May 1, 2009. She said the bank would take “measured steps” as it consolidates its banking businesses. “The leadership capabilities and strength of an organisation are best tested in challenging times,” she added.
Kochhar, who joined Industrial Credit & Investment Corporation of India (ICICI), the previous avatar of ICICI Bank, as a management trainee in 1984, also has a fun-loving side. “We share a passion for Bollywood movies and shopping,” said Kalpana Morparia, a former colleague of Kochhar’s at ICICI Bank, who was appointed head of J.P. Morgan India a few months ago. The two often exchange notes on their twin passions.