Former SAIL Chairman, GAIL Dir in race for Petronet top job

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Published: July 26, 2015 3:40:03 PM

Former SAIL Chairman C S Verma and GAIL Director (Marketing) Prabhat Singh are among over a dozen candidates in race to top job at India's largest liquefied natural gas importer, Petronet LNG Ltd.

Former SAIL Chairman C S Verma and GAIL Director (Marketing) Prabhat Singh are among over a dozen candidates in race to top job at India’s largest liquefied natural gas importer, Petronet LNG Ltd.

A Search Committee comprising representatives of all Petronet’s promoters – GAIL, IOC, ONGC, BPCL and GdF of France will interview the candidates on July 29 to select the new chief executive officer (CEO) of Petronet, officials said.

The government had in June denied Verma, 56, an extension of service till his superannuation age in 2019. He was appointed Chairman and Managing Director of state-owned steel producer SAIL by the previous UPA government in June 2010.

Besides Verma and Singh, other who have applied for the Petronet job include GAIL Directors (Projects) Ashutosh Karnatak, ONGC Director (Onshore) Ashok Varma and ONGC Videsh Ltd Director (Finance) S P Garg.

Petronet Director (Finance) R K Garg and its Director (Technical) Rajender Singh have also applied, they said.

Officials said a Search Committee of promoters replaced a previous ad-hoc panel to select a successor to A K Balyan, who completed his five year term on July 15. He was eligible for an extension till he attains the superannuation age of 65 years in July 2016, but he was not given an extension.

The then oil secretary Saurabh Chandra had in March constituted a three-member panel headed by ONGC Chairman Dinesh K Sarraf.

Besides Sarraf, the committee included two independent directors of Petronet and its constitution was questioned by at least one promoter director.

The panel could not come up with a consensus by April-end from among seven applicants, including Pramod K Bajpai, the then Director (Finance) of BHEL and an IIT Kanpur batchmate of Chandra, they said.

With Chandra retiring on April 30, new Oil Secretary Kapil Dev Tripathi has decided to revert to the old system of choosing the head of Petronet through promoters.

The eligibility rules said candidates should not be more than 60 years as on July 16, 2015.

Bajpai retired from BHEL on May 31 and thus was not eligible. Besides him, others who had previously applied but were ineligible included Oil India former chairman S K Srivastava, Engineers India (EIL) former head A K Purwaha and GAIL Director (Finance) P K Jain.

Purwaha, Jain and Srivastava have superannuated on achieving 60 years since then and were not be eligible.

Petronet is majority owned by state-owned oil firms, but is registered as a private company and the Oil Secretary is its ex-officio chairman.

Board members of the company are appointed for five years or 65 years, whichever is earlier.

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