The Banking and Strategy Initiative

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Mass defections from ICICI Bank |

It could be the end of an era at ICICI, with high-profile exits coinciding with the impending retirement from executive position of Managing Director K.V. Kamath at the end of this month, when CFO Chanda Kochhar takes over the baton at the financial giant.

Two senior ICICI Bank Group officials, Shikha Sharma, the Managing Director & CEO of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company, and Renuka Ramnath, the Managing Director & CEO of ICICI Venture, the private equity firm, are set move on from the group, banking sources said, though there was no official confirmation yet.

“I am not resigning and I have nothing to say on newspaper reports (on my exit),” Ramnath told Hindustan Times. “There is no truth in all the reports in newpapers and I am not resigning,” said Sharma.

Given their long years at the group, it was not clear if there were semantic details distinguishing an early retirement from resignation.

While Ramnath, a 20-year veteran at ICICI group, is considering setting up a private equity venture of her own, Sharma is said to be moving after nearly three decades at the banking group, with no news on her next stop. Sharma is widely talked to be joining Axis Bank, which had considered her candidature for the post of CEO after the incumbent, PJ Nayak, retires in July 2009.

“It is natural to have career growth aspirations,” said a senior ICICI Bank official on the changes at the top. “Not always are these met in a large organisation like ICICI and hence the turnover.”

A senior official from another subsidiary company of ICICI Group said, “Renuka is on her way out.”

ICICI Bank has had to change its management plan with the likely exits of Sharma and Ramnath. Earlier, the bank planned to have two Deputy or Joint Managing Directors. But with one of its Executive Directors, V Vaidyanathan, expected to shift to head the life insurance company after Sharma’s exit, the bank is considering not to have these positions.

Vishakha Mulye, Executive Director, ICICI Lombard General Insurance, and former CFO of the bank, is expected to move to ICICI Venture to fill the void that Ramnath’s exit would create.

zyakaira notes: This is also a probable realisation that ICICI Bank is not helping Indian Banking sector compete globally and that management direction at the bank would suffer after Chanda Kochchar takes over. It is also unlikely that anyone leaving the ICICI executive would do anything seminal outside of the bank with most senior hiring at FIIs already over and successful boutiques being next to none. Unfortunately, there seem to be very limited place in India’s growing sector with only rep offices from the Global institutions and less than 1% global market share from India.

What is needed is already there, such mass action shows a blatant lack of confidence in the organization internally and a lack of will to proceed on the reform agenda and grow the bank’s global role..


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