ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar. Photo: AFP
ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar. Photo: AFP

India’s largest private-sector financial institution ICICI Bank, whose CEO Chanda Kochhar is facing corruption allegations, is scouting for a new chairman to head its board of directors.

The term of the incumbent, M.K. Sharma, will expire by the end of this month and M.D. Mallya, a veteran banker and former Bank of Baroda chairman and managing director, is the frontrunner, Economic Times has reported.

It was during Sharma’s tenure the allegations against bank CEO Kochhar surfaced. Kochhar and her family members are facing claims of corruption and nepotism related to loans given by ICICI Bank to the Videocon Group, a consumer electronics and oil-and-gas exploration company.

The ICICI board led by Sharma has been criticized for its support for the CEO. It cleared Kochhar of all alleged wrongdoing on March 28.

However, last week the board ordered an independent inquiry into fresh allegations of violations of the bank’s code of conduct, conflict of interest and quid pro quo against Kochhar, who is coincidentally on annual leave.

Hence the bank is looking for someone who could pull them out of its current credibility crisis. The ICICI board had approached several reputed industrialists and retired bankers, but they declined to join the board because of controversy surrounding the bank’s CEO, the daily said.