Sandeep Bakhshi: Meet the wildlife enthusiast who is all set to head ICICI Bank

New Delhi: After 56-year-old Chanda Kochhar resigned as ICICI Bank CEO on Thursday, Sandeep Bakhshi is all set to replace her as the MD and CEO of the company. Bakhshi currently serves as executive director and chief operating officer at the bank.

Chanda Kochhar
Chanda Kochhar

Kochhar, who is being investigated for alleged conflict of interest, will relinquish office from the board of directors with immediate effect, the private sector bank said in a regulatory filing.

Separately, ICICI Bank said that it accepted the resignation of MD Mallya, independent director of the bank. Mallya quit due to health reasons.

“The Board decided to appoint Mr. Sandeep Bakhshi as Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer. His appointment will be for a period of five years until October 3, 2023, subject to regulatory and other approvals,” ICICI Bank said in a regulatory filing.

Read: Chanda Kochhar quits ICICI Bank: Know all about the banking mogul

Bakhshi took the helm on an interim basis in June, when Kochhar went on leave during the inquiry into an alleged conflict of interest that triggered months of controversy. His current term as whole-time director and chief operating officer (COO) designate started on July 31 for a period of three years.

In his current role, he is responsible for handling all the businesses and corporate centre functions at the bank.

Who is Sandeep Bakhshi?

  • Before stepping into the COO’s role of ICICI Bank, Bakhshi used to serve as the managing director and CEO of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company – the bank’s life insurance arm – until July this year.
  • Bakhshi joined ICICI in 1986 as an officer in the operations department in the Northern Zonal office, Delhi. He has been with the the ICICI Group for 32 years and has handled various assignments in group companies ICICI Limited, ICICI Lombard General Insurance, ICICI Bank and ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, according to the bank’s website.
  • He looked after the corporate clients for the northern and eastern regions of ICICI Ltd before joining ICICI Lombard in 2002.
  • Bakhshi is a mechanical engineer from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh and has a post-graduate degree in management from Xavier Labour Relations Institute or XLRI, Jamshedpur.
  • His first day at work was at a computer marketing company, ORG Systems, in 1983.
  • In an interview to Economic Times, he once said, “I wanted to spend a lot of time outside of normal life… in jungles. There is a lot of fascination around wildlife, watching predators, foxes, jackals.” The now ICICI head normally visits five-six wildlife sanctuaries a year.
  • Vintage bollywood attracts him and he prefers listening to old Hindi songs, with trimurti composers — SD Burman, OP Nayyar and Madan Mohan as his favourites.
  • Bakhshi, however, regrets having cleared the National Defence Academy tests and not pursuing it.
  • Bakhshi grew up in a defence services family, according to ICICI Bank.