The ICICI board is looking to the retired petroleum secretary to provide 'maturity and sagacity'.
Jyoti Mukul reports.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
His former colleagues in the powerful Indian Administrative Service fraternity remember Dr Girish Chandra Chaturvedi's unassuming ways that endeared him to everybody around him.
ICICI Bank, which named him non-executive chairman, would hope that the 1977 batch IAS officer, who retired as petroleum secretary five years ago, still retains that trait of his personality to guide the bank in its deepest hour of crisis.
The board is looking up to him to provide 'maturity and sagacity' to its deliberations, the bank said in a statement.
The decision to have a new chairman comes at a time when the largest private sector bank in the country is facing an image crisis and an ongoing inquiry into the conflict of interest charges against its managing director and chief executive officer Chanda Kochhar.
The bank said this would ensure a seamless and smooth transition of leadership at the board and would address stakeholders concerns on this behalf.
Dr Chaturvedi worked as additional secretary in the department of financial services under the United Progressive Alliance government.
From there in 2011, he moved to the ministry of petroleum and natural gas when S Jaipal Reddy got his secretary S Sundareshan moved out during the peak of the Cairn-Vedanta buy-out controversy.
The Uttar Pradesh cadre bureaucrat was new in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas.
So, for the first few days, he decided to knock on the doors of all joint secretaries and directors, and personally introduce himself -- a rarity in the hierarchy-conscious bureaucracy.
Prior to that, he had spent around four years in the Union finance ministry, both as joint secretary and additional secretary in the department of financial services, thus giving him the required skills to oversee the troubled bank now.
As someone who has been chairman of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) and chairman of the Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA), the regulatory experience can come in handy at ICICI Bank, people who know him say.
He was also the special director-general in the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games when Jaipal Reddy was in the ministry of urban development.
Dr Chaturvedi is a postgraduate in social policy from the London School of Economics and has a masters in physics from Allahabad University when it was counted among the best in the country.
He also holds a doctorate in economic history from the University of Oxford.
His rich experience as government nominee director in many financial institutions should also come in handy for the bank.
"He is a very balanced person. We worked together on issues like bank capitalisation when he was in the department of financial services and I was in the Budget division of the ministry of finance," said one of his juniors in the IAS whose name was rumoured to have been discussed by the ICICI board.