Fifteen senior officials from different state-run organisations in the fray for the top job in Steel Authority of India (Sail). The aspirants include four CMDs and a woman officer from the Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS).
Government head-hunter Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) is scheduled to interview them on August 31 for recommending the most suitable candidate for heading the state-run steel maker, which has reported a net loss of R321 crore in the first quarter of the current fiscal—its first quarterly loss in over a decade.
A total of five or one-third of the aspirants are from the company itself. This includes Sail’s two directors on the board, finance director Anil Kumar Choudhary, and Kalyan Maity, director-raw material and logistics. Choudhary is the senior most director, though. Chief executive officer of Sail’s Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP) P K Singh is also in the fray as well Sail’s two executive directors—Umesh Kumar and S K Saha.
The four chairman-cum-managing directors in the race are Malay Chatterjee, CMD, KIOCL; MS Rana, CMD, Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL), Jaiveer Srivastava, CMD, The Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd (FACT) and Rajiv Sharma, CMD, Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd (REC). The only woman in the list of aspirants is Rashmi Goel, an IRAS official.
Anupam Anand, director (personnel), Hindustan Copper Ltd; Vijay Nanda, director (projects), Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL); RP Singh, director (personnel), Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) and NK Nanda, director (technical), NMDC, are also in the race. P K Mukherjee, member secretary, Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), is also vying the post of Sail chairman.
Sail has been without a permanent chairman since incumbent CS Verma was refused an extension by the government in June. Steel secretary Rakesh Singh has been given the additional charge of Sail chairman for three months.
Verma was appointed Sail chairman for a five-year term in June 2010 by the previous UPA government, but was eligible for an extension till he attained the superannuation age of 60 years in September 2019.
Following the recommendation of the PESB for a new chairman, it would require the approval of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet for the person to take over. It would certainly be a challenging job for the new chairman to steer the company out of the current phase. The steel industry has been passing through a difficult time with the burgeoning imports from China, Japan, Korea and Russia. Though the government has raised import duty on the alloy for a couple of times, each time by 2.5%, it didn’t benefit the industry much. The industry has been urging the government to impose safeguard and anti-dumping duties.
Sail is in the final stages of completion of its Rs 72,000-crore modernisation and expansion programme that would enhance its hot metal capacity to 23.5 mtpa. The company has also readied a blueprint to take its capacity to 50 mtpa by 2025 with an investment of Rs 1.5 lakh crore.