June 1, 2018 / 5:02 AM / 19 days ago

ICICI Bank says CEO Kochhar on planned leave

(Reuters) - ICICI Bank Ltd said on Friday Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar is on planned annual leave and denied a media report that she was asked to go on leave until an independent board enquiry is concluded.

ICICI Bank's Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar speaks during a news conference at the bank's headquarters in Mumbai February 10, 2015. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

The Mint daily reported that Kochhar was asked to go on indefinite leave until a probe into allegations of favouritism in loan distribution is concluded, and that the decision was taken on the advice of a majority of the bank’s seven independent directors.

“The ICICI Bank board denies having asked Chanda Kochhar to go on leave ... Further, the board denies that it has appointed any search committee to find her successor,” the bank said in a statement.

India’s second largest private sector lender is facing allegations over conflict of interest in loans made to Videocon, a consumer electronics and oil and gas exploration company, which is alleged to have been favoured by Kochhar.

However, the bank rebutted the nepotism charges in March and said the board had “full confidence and reposes full faith” in Kochhar.

Shares of the Mumbai-based lender which jumped nearly 5 percent in early trading, pared some gains and were up 1.8 percent at 0541 GMT.

Reporting by Vishal Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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