Born in Rajasthan, India, Chanda Kochhar is known for her pivotal role in transforming the banking industry in India. Establishing herself as CEO of ICICI bank by climbing the corporate ladder, she helped to spearhead ICICI bank’s expansive retail business in the early 2000s – marking an unprecedented rise in technological innovations through efficient engineering and rapid distribution of sales in the Indian subcontinent. In the last decade, she has managed the bank’s domestic and international functions and served as a member of many multilateral national committees, including the India-Russia Business Leaders forum and the US-India CEO forum. Until her forced resignation in 2018 from accusations of fraud in an investigation started by the Central Bureau of Investigation, Chanda Kochhar earned many accolades for empowering women in India’s workplace.
Chanda Kochhar began her career in the financial sector after earning a Bachelor’s degree in communications at the University of Mumbai and completing a graduate program for a Master’s degree in Management studies from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute. Striving towards academic achievement for her leadership and work ethic in the programs, Kochhar earned the Wockhardt Gold Medal and the J.N. Bose Gold Medal for consistent excellence in business management and accounting. Beginning as an intern trainee for ICICI bank in 1984, she applied various banking tools for evaluating cement and textile industry activities, such as appraising property, projects, and conducting on-site inspections.
After nearly a decade of employment at ICICI bank during the 1980s and early 90s, Chanda Kochhar was promoted to deputy manager for her outstanding leadership role and as an important team member. The bank expanded its service to infrastructural and communication industries like electricity, transportation, and phones. As a result of this corporate expansion, Kochhar was responsible for dealing with the bank’s most important clients. Continuing to excel in her managerial expertise, she was granted complete control of ICICI’s large-scale financial operations in India and abroad as the chief executive officer. Recognized for her commitment to efficient business methods during the global economic recession of 2008 and for her leading-edge work in finances, Kochhar was awarded a doctorate of honors from Carleton University of Canada.
In spite of Chanda Kochhar’s meteoric rise to India’s corporate brass, a series of fraud and conspiracy accusations began to plague her career. Her biased favoritism for Videocon Group lending led to inquiries of the bank and the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate a trust opened by her husband, Deepak Kochhar, with Viedocon marketer Venugopal Dhoot. The group’s ownership to Kochhar’s trust followed ICICI bank loans and several significant transactions with Videocon Group. Officially in January of 2019, Deepak Kochhar and leading marketer, Venugopal Dhoot, were charged with financial fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to cheat for economic advantages. Due to this incrimination and an erosion in public relations, Chanda Kochhar was forced to step down from the ICICI board of committee members with most of her personal accolades rescinded.