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March 30, 2013

Chanda Kochhar- from Jodhpur to the Global Map

ICICI Bank is the largest private sector bank of India, and the second largest bank across the globe. What makes this achievement bigger is the fact that it is a relatively young bank, conceptualized and launched in the early 1990s.  The name that has been instrumental behind this success story is that of Chanda Kochhar’s: Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (CEO & MD).

Starting small, but focused

Chanda was born in 1961 in the small town of Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Her father was the principal and founder of Jaipur Engineering College – Chanda has two siblings in their family, thus they spent their childhood and did their schooling from the Pink City. She was the youngest of the three, and was pampered by both her elder brother and sister.

At a very young age of 13, Chanda unfortunately lost her father. The bereaved family moved to Mumbai, as most of their relatives and close friends were settled there. It was difficult, but Chanda kept her focus on her studies and grew into a confident young woman. In 1982, she graduated in Bachelor of Arts from Jai Hind College. She took up Cost Accountacy and was later selected for Management of Business Administration (MBA) from the prestigious institute of Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS).  Her academic excellence won her two awards for obtaining the highest marks in the same year – the Wockhardt Gold Medal for Excellence in Management Studies and J. N. Bose Gold Medal in Cost Accountancy.

She exhibited her enthusiasm in extracurricular activities as well – participating in various debates and elocution contests, oratorical events, dramas, etc. She also excelled in sports, especially Badminton.

The journey that continued

Straight out of management school, Chanda joined Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation (ICICI) Ltd. as a management trainee. She handled Project Appraisals and Monitoring, Textile Paper and Cement initiatives, etc.

She played a key role when ICICI decided to launch its own private bank. There has been no looking back since as she held various positions within the bank itself – such as the Assistant General Manager, Deputy General Manager, etc. She was promoted to the Board of Directors of ICICI Bank in 2001.  She became the CEO and MD in 2009, succeeding K. V. Kamath.

With a clear focus on growth, Chanda spearheaded ICICI Bank to the helm. There were many new initiatives launched under her leadership. She could assess the needs of the modern customers and design the services of the bank in line with their expectations. For example, she realized that most of the citizens are working people and can only attend to their banking needs in the early morning or late evening. Eight to eight banking was introduced to cater to the working people. Also initiatives such as personalized banking, door to door services and more were provided to the consumer. She strengthened internet banking, mobile banking, customer security, newer and better credit cards, etc to ensure that the consumers are happy. She also worked on increasing the coverage and reach of the bank – not only are there a large number of ATM counters even in remote locations, lot of banking facilities have been integrated with the machines themselves.

Other roles and responsibilities

In addition to leading the ICICI Group of Companies, Chanda Kochhar is also members of key bodies such as Prime Minister’s Council for Trade and Industry, Board of Trade and Commerce, Committee on Financing Infrastructure, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, National Institute of Securities and Markets, Institute of International Finance, Indian Bankers Association, International Monetary Conference, CEO Forums of USA and India, UK and India. She also attended the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in 2011.

Awards and Recognitions

Under Chanda’s leadership, ICICI bank has been awarded with the “Best Retail Bank in India” in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005, “Excellence in Retail Banking Award” in 2002, and many more.

Chanda has grown professionally along with ICICI Bank and received many awards and accolades herself. She topped the list of 50 Most powerful Women in Business put together by Fortune Global in 2012. She has been consistently featuring in the top 10 slots since 2005. She also was conferred the title of “Transformational Business Leader of the Year” by All India Management Association (AIMA), “Most Powerful Woman in Indian Business” by Business Today (she has featured in the list of top 30 businesswomen by Business Today since 2002), “Outstanding Woman Business Leader of the year” by CNBC TV 18, “Banker of the Year” by Financial Express, “Global Leadership award” from the US – India Business Council, “ABLF Woman of Power Award (India)” by Asian Business Leadership forum, “Business Leader of the Year” by Economic Times – she was the first woman to have won this recognition. There are many such awards to her name today.

The most important accolade received by Chanda is the Padma Vibhushan Award in 2011, the highest civilian recognition.

Family Life : Husband, Son and Daughter

Chanda Kochhar's husband Mr. Deepak Kochhar, an entrepreneur himself in Wind Energy sector. Deepak was her classmate from business school. She presently stays in Mumbai with their family, and Chanda is now mother of two children – a son and daughter. Her responsibilities at ICICI allow her very little time with her family, but she endeavors to make the best use of whatever she gets. Her family is very supportive and proud of her.  

She loves Thai and Mughlai cuisines and is an enthusiastic cook herself. She has an ear for music and has a tune playing almost everywhere – be it in her car, office, home or even an elevator.

Her secret ingredient

A strong believer in gender equality, Chanda has always encouraged women employees to excel in their professions. She has completely abolished any kind of gender bias whatsoever from the functioning of the bank. She believes that the social structure of Indian families have made the country’s women more tactful and better managers than their foreign counterparts.

Today, Chanda Kochhar represents the rising wave of Indian women at key positions in companies all over the country.

Salary of Chanda Kochhar

Chanda Kochhar is working as CEO and MD of ICICI Bank, her salary was 4.25 crore in 2011, and now her salary is 5.12 crore according to economic times.


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About Anupama

A Transport Planner and Architect, Anupama has been blogging for about six years now. She has taken up professional content writing for the last two years, and can always be contacted for any assignments or queries. Her strength is original presentation of any topic.