Govt to form secy-level panel to find Oil India head

By: | Updated: September 29, 2015 10:28 AM

After three failed attempts by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) to find the chairman and managing director for Oil India...

Oil india directorAfter three failed attempts by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) to find the chairman and managing director for Oil India (AP)

After three failed attempts by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) to find the chairman and managing director for Oil India, the government plans to form a “search committee” for the same now. PESB had held the first  round of interviews for the post last November.

“A secretary-level panel would search for the CMD of Oil India,” a senior official privy to the development told FE. On September 9, the PESB interviewed 10 candidates, but decided to “see more”.

Shares of Oil India have closely tracked the movement in crude oil prices since May 2013. During the period, as brent crude prices plunged by 55% from $106 a barrel to $48, even the Oil India stock lost nearly a third of its value. As the slide in crude oil price continued, Oil India’s stock fell from around Rs 660 a year earlier to Monday’s close of Rs 422.30.

Interestingly, none of the 12 candidates in the third interview round belonged to exploration background. Rupshikha Saikia Borah, who is currently director (finance) with Oil India, has been interviewed thrice by the PESB for the post.

The first round of interviews took place last November, where six applicants appeared, including Borah. But the PESB decided to see more candidates. The second attempt was made in February, when Borah emerged as a winner.

Though the government never revealed the reason for not going ahead with appointing Borah after she emerged successful at the interview, there are indications the Centre is looking for an executive who can turn around the company, which has been stagnant for the past few years.

Currently, UP Singh, who is additional secretary (exploration) at the petroleum ministry holds the chair of Oil India head. The post could not be filled after Sunil Kumar Srivastava, CMD, retired on June 30. Srivastava, who had replaced NM Borah in May 2012, couldn’t improve the production trend of the explorer, neither could he bring any new find.

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