Government headhunter PESB made no proposal for the next chairman of India's largest oil company, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), post interviewing 10 applicants including Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL) MD Arvind Kumar. Kumar and nine others showed up for an interview prior to Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB) on Tuesday.
This is the second time in the latest months that PESB has not been able to find a suitable candidate for a high-ranking position at a blue-chip oil company. On June 3, 2021, it failed to select a suitable candidate from nine candidates, including two currently serving IAS officers for ONGC.
PESB on IOC high position: Interview
The ministry established a search-cum-selection panel and appointed Arun Kumar Singh, who had retired from Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) at the age of 60, as ONGC's head. Previously, Singh was ineligible to apply, but the new rules made him eligible.
PESB held interviews with ten candidates on Tuesday to replace Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, the chairman who will retire on August 31 at the age of 60. Those interviewed have five executive directors of IOC, Container Corporation of India Ltd (Concor) director (finance) Manoj Kumar Dubey and NMDC Ltd director (finance) Amitava Mukherjee. According to the PESB order, interviews were also conducted with Yatendra Kumar and Ranjan Prakash Thakur, officers of the Indian Railway Services.
Sandeep Jain, Anna Durai, Sailendra Kurumaddali, Sanjay Parashar, and Gur Prasad were the IOC executive directors interviewed. No current directors of IOC applied as most didn't have the essential two years of service left before retirement. Only marketing director Satish Kumar Vaduguri had a maximum tenure of 23 months out of the six directors before he retires in July 2025.
S S V Ramakumar, director of research and development, will step down at the end of this year in July. D S Nanaware, director of pipelines, will retire one month earlier, and Sukla Mistry, director of refineries, and Sujoy Choudhury, director of planning and business development, will both reach retirement age in April 2024 and August 2024, respectively. The posts of the director (finance) and director (HR) are empty.
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PESB on IOC high position: Scenario
IOC transforms crude oil into petrol, diesel, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), and fuels for aviation turbines. It also produces CNG for retail use and petrochemicals.
IOC is not only pivoting India's energy transition to the shift from fossil-based systems of energy production and consumption such as oil, natural gas, and coal to renewable energy sources like wind and solar and lithium-ion batteries. However, it is also the backbone of Indian fuel supplies.
IOC is the owner and operator of ten oil refineries, each of which has a combined capacity of 80.6 million tonnes. This accounts for almost a third of India's 251.2 million tonnes of refining capacity. Additionally, it owns 36,285 of the 86,855 petrol pumps in the nation. In addition, it claims half of the country's 25,386 LPG distributors. It operates 131 of the country's 283 aviation fuel stations.