Don't apply if you have only a finance background

Vol 10, PW 24 (05 Apr 07) People & Policy

If you have only a finance background don’t bother applying for the job of CMD at ONGC.

But if you do have only a finance background and still apply by the 7th April (Saturday) deadline, know that your chances are slim. This is what PETROWATCH learns from Delhi’s corridors of power.

“They are looking for somebody who does not have a pure finance background,â€‌ says a source. “Someone who is either a geologist or engineer with an added qualification in finance or business administration.

â€‌ If true this would rule out OVL managing director RS Butola and even acting ONGC chairman RS Sharma. Why the bias against finance candidates “If purely finance candidates are acceptable, what was wrong with RS Sharmaâ€‌ asks a source.

In February, the PMO unexpectedly rejected the PESB selection of Sharma as CMD. “He was the best in that panel,â€‌ we hear.

Butola could have been a strong candidate but “he still has no feathers in his capâ€‌ as MD of OVL. Still, Butola is no lightweight candidate given his contacts with the family of late Congress MP Rajesh Pilot.

Dark horse candidates usually emerge on the day of the deadline. “One dark horse could be (ONGC director) AK Balyan because of his connections to various (north Indian) politicians,â€‌ we are told.

Yet another strong candidate could be Sarthak Behuria, chairman of Indian Oil. But Behuria is learnt to have told friends he will not apply after what happened to RS Sharma.

“He’ll enter the race only if invited by the PESB interview panel,â€‌ we hear. “Balyan and Behuria are non-finance candidates.

Behuria is closely related to some senior Delhi bureaucrats.â€‌ Selection of a CMD for ONGC will not be limited to those who apply by the 7th April deadline.

The PESB search committee can also invite applications from candidates who have not applied. Cabinet secretary (and former oil secretary) BK Chaturvedi will play a key role in this process.

In the earlier round Chaturvedi had backed RS Sharma but is now backing ONGC director exploration DK Pande.