Chanda Kochhar, the head of India's ICICI Bank who is transforming her business with conservative lending and tactical cost cutting, is "also wildly ambitious" and aims to make ICICI among the top 20 global banks in the next ten years, according to Fortune magazine.
Profiling "How a star CEO keeps her bank growing" the US business magazine recalls how "by embracing caution at the right moment, Kochhar -- who became CEO of the bank in early 2009 -- skilfully guided ICICI through the financial crisis that crippled rivals around the globe."
"Now India's largest private bank is once again on a strong trajectory for growth in a nation where banking is a go-go industry that benefits from a burgeoning middle class demanding mortgages, checking accounts, and credit cards at a pace US bankers can barely comprehend," it said noting, "Total assets now top $91 billion, up from $21 billion a decade ago."
"Kochhar, 49, has expanded not by taking on more risk, but by building a base of loyal customers and shunning the pell-mell marketing of credit card and personal loans to newcomers that so endangered the franchise just three years ago," Fortune said.
"There's no question that India's overall growth contributes mightily to ICICI's success," Fortune said. But Kochhar, whose turnaround of ICICI has earned her many accolades, including the No. 5 spot on Fortune's International Most Powerful Women list, "isn't just riding India's coattails."
Putting a major emphasis on profitability at ICICI, she's executing a plan of disciplined expansion with a pledge to make ICICI one of the top 20 banks in the world within 10 years, Fortune said.
"That's an incredible ambition that would require multiplying its $90 billion in assets about 15-fold, but ICICI shareholders can at least be assured that Kochhar will attack the goal with her trademark blend of cool and grit," it said.