Modi wants NK Verma to head Oil India

Vol 18, PW 8 (04 Dec 14) People & Policy
     

Narendra Modi wants to boost Oil India’s performance by appointing an ‘effective and efficient’ new chairman, and one of the names circulated is that of OVL boss NK Verma.

Another possible candidate is ONGC director technology & field services Shashi Shankar. “Both are talented,” says an oil ministry source.

“But Verma has an edge as he also has overseas business exposure.” Present Oil India chairman and managing director SK Srivastava retires on June 30, 2015.

But interviews to replace him on November 21 were unsuccessful as none of the six candidates including Oil India director finance (Ms) RS Borah was found suitable. So the PESB will invite fresh applications by the end of this month (December) and interview candidates by February 2015.

Modi’s government is focusing attention on Oil India as part of its wider ‘Act East’ campaign to foster development in eastern states like Assam and West Bengal. If Modi can get a high profile industry veteran like Verma to join relatively small Oil India, it would send a strong psychological message to voters in the region.

Towards this end, the PESB might even waive its ‘job-hopping’ rule under which Verma is ineligible to apply for the Oil India job because he took charge as OVL chief in August 2014. “If Modi decides on Verma,” a source tells us, “the rules can be changed.