A mechanical engineering graduate from NIT, formerly known as Motilai Nehru Regional Engineering College, Allahabad in 1982, Tripathi started his career with ONGC.
The government has declined Bhuwan Chandra Tripathi a third extension as Chairman and Managing Director of India’s biggest natural gas firm GAIL India Ltd, sources said. Tripathi, 59, who was the youngest person to become a chairman of an oil and gas PSU in August 2009, completes his second five-year term on July 31, and was eligible for an extension till his date of superannuation in January next year. Sources said the government has, however, declined an extension.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has communicated the decision of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), which was seized of the issue after Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had recommended an extension early this year, to the ministry, they said. DoPT, however, did not give any reasons for denying Tripathi an extension, they added.
According to sources the order noted that the senior-most director of GAIL be appointed as interim Chairman and Managing Director till a full-time head is selected. Director (Projects) Ashutosh Karnatak is the senior-most director on GAIL board and is likely to made named interim chairman. Some months back, the ACC had approved an extension of Karnatak’s tenure by 16 months till his superannuation age of 60 years to be achieved in June 2020. Karnatak was appointed for a five-year term beginning March 1, 2014, and this term ended on February 28.
Tripathi was appointed Chairman and Managing Director of GAIL by the Congress-led UPA government in 2009, for an initial five-year term. His extension was due to be reviewed in 2014, but the UPA government in October 2013 approved another five-year term till July 31, 2019. Prior to taking over as CMD, Tripathi had served as Director of Marketing at GAIL from July 2007 to July 31, 2009. A mechanical engineering graduate from NIT, formerly known as Motilai Nehru Regional Engineering College, Allahabad in 1982, Tripathi started his career with ONGC. He joined GAIL India during its inception in 1984 and was one of the initial team members involved in the construction and commissioning of the Hazira-Vijaipur-Jagdishpur (HVJ) pipeline system.
Incidentally, he is the only chief of a major PSU entity to have won an extension of service in recent times. Directors, including chairmen, on the boards of public sector enterprises, are appointed for five years or until the superannuation age of 60 years, whichever is earlier. Upon completion of five years, an executive is eligible for an extension if there is time left for retirement. The Government had, however, denied extensions to Subir Raha of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), P Banerjee of GAIL, Sarthak Behuria of Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Ashok Sinha of Bharat Petroleum Corp.
Tripathi, who is credited with turning GAIL into an aggressive gas marketing and transmission company, was considered the youngest chairman of a Navaratna PSU when he took over at GAIL at the age of 49 on August 1, 2009. During his tenure, GAIL was conferred the ‘Maharatna’ public sector enterprise status. The company has strengthened its core businesses across natural gas midstream and downstream chains during the last decade by doubling gas transmission capacity, tripling petrochemicals marketable portfolio. It has also forayed into newer game-changing opportunities by securing over 8.0 million tonnes per annum long-term LNG supply commitments.