In 1984, Chanda Kochhar joined ICICI Bank Limited as a management trainee. At present the managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of ICICI Bank, Kochhar has been a major reason why it has today become India’s second largest bank and the largest bank in the country’s private sector. Her competence has led her to become a member of the Board of Trade, the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry, the high-level committee on financing infrastructure, US-India CEO Forum and UK-India CEO Forum. Recently in 2011, she was conferred with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour.
In these three decades, Kochhar has not only transformed the organisation but also the Indian banking sector as a whole. Kochchar had started peaking way back in the 1990s. During this phase, she took the onus of shaping the brand. She was a part of the core team when ICICI decided to set up a bank in 1993. After becoming the deputy general manager in 1996, she was made to lead the newly formed Infrastructure Industry Group of ICICI with an aim “to create a dedicated industry expertise in the area of power, telecom and transportation.”
Two years later, she was promoted and as the general manager she handled the bank’s ‘major client group’ – an accumulation of around 200 of ICICI’s top clients. Soon she was also seen managing ICICI’s strategy and e-commerce division.
One of her major achievements was to start up ICICI’s retail business in July 2000. Within half a decade, it emerged as the largest retail financier of India. The thing that is awe inspiring about her journey is the pace at which she has climbed the ladder. Though it took her a decade to become the assistant general manager of ICICI but within the next seven years she took five major leaps and became the executive director.
In 2011, at the Asian Business Leadership Forum Awards, she was felicitated with the “ABLF Woman of Power Awards (India)”. And more recently, in January 2014, Chanda was conferred with the ASSOCHAM Ladies League – Mumbai, ‘Women of the Decade Achievers Award’.
In 2000, when all banks stayed open for four to seven hours a day, Kochhar was the one to increase the same up to 12 hours. It was under her influence that electronic banking saw its boom. Around 2000 automated teller machines (ATMs) were installed all across India.
Kochhar’s unwavering efforts won ICICI Bank the ‘Best Retail Bank in India’ in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005 and the ‘Excellence in Retail Banking Award’ in 2002.