In the third round of selection, not one candidate has an exploration background
High drama for selection of the chairman and managing director of Oil India Limited, the second largest government-run explorer, continues with the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) set to interview 12 candidates on Wednesday. This would be the third time the selection panel would be interviewing candidates for the post. Interestingly, none of the 12 candidates in race for the top post have an exploration background.
Rupshikha Saikia Borah, currently director (finance) with Oil India, also features among the candidates, sources said. Borah has been interviewed twice earlier by PESB for the post and had even emerged successful after the second round . The first round of interview took place in November last year wherein six applicants appeared.
However the PESB decided to consider more candidates. The second round of interview was conducted in February and saw Borah scoring over nine other senior executives.
The government never revealed the reason for not going ahead with Borah’s appointment as chairman and managing director despite her having emerged successful at the PESB interview. There are indications that it is looking for an executive who can turn around the company, which has been stagnant for the past few years.
“Borah is one of the applicants, but we are not sure if she would appear for the interview again,” a senior government official told FE. Borah was the first woman director appointed to the board of Oil India in October 2013. She is a chartered accountant and an alumnus of the Delhi School of Economics.
The current list of applicants includes two executive directors from GAIL (India)—Gajendra Singh and A K Singh—and executives from IGL, FACT, Powergrid, LIC, SECI, STC and EPIL. Interestingly, no one from ONGC, the country’s largest government-owned explorer, evinced interest in heading Oil India though an Indian Railway Accounts Service member, Rashmi Goel, posted with the ministry of railways, has applied for the post.
At present, U P Singh, who is additional secretary (exploration) at the petroleum ministry, holds charge as Oil India head. The post has not been filled since Sunil Kumar Srivastava, chairman and managing director of OIL, retired on June 30. Srivastava who had replaced N M Borah in May 2012 couldn’t improve the production graph of the explorer nor was there any find during his tenure. The ministry is also investigating an alleged corruption charge against Srivastava.
Shares of Oil India have closely tracked the movement in crude oil prices since May 2013. As Brent crude prices plunged by 58% from $116 a barrel to $50/barrel during this period, the Oil India stock has lost nearly a third of its value. With the slide in crude oil prices intensifying of late, Oil India has moved down from Rs 661 to Rs 435.