Sanjib Datta defends selection as GAIL director BD

Vol 17, PW 19 (08 May 14) People & Policy

GAIL’s incoming director business development Sanjib Datta has hit back at critics who say he got the job only because of his close relationship with company chairman BC Tripathi.

“I have solid business development experience,” Datta, 52, tells this report. “All those raising their voice now should have done so when the candidates were shortlisted.

Why are they shouting now, after the (PESB) interviews” Unimpressed by Datta’s argument is S. Narayanan, 57, his former boss when Datta joined GAIL as a graduate trainee in 1986.

Narayanan - head of GAIL’s prestigious FSRU project with Shell and Gaz de France - met oil minister Veerappa Moily on April 24 to demand Datta’s de-selection and a fresh round of PESB interviews. Two days earlier he explained why in a letter to the PMO.

“I hold seniority amongst all eligible GAIL executive directors,” writes Narayanan. “My application for the director BD post was not forwarded to the PESB by GAIL to deliberately deprive me from serving the company and to provide access to juniors without facing competition from competent senior executives.

” Narayanan is not alone in condemning GAIL directors, in particular chairman Tripathi, for allegedly bending the rules to exclude five ‘senior’ executive director rank candidates (RK Kashyap, BP Singh, NK Aggrawal, Manoj Jain and himself) from the original 13 shortlisted to ensure only “the candidate of their choice” stood a chance.