Sarma favourite as 'full-time' Gujarat Gas MD

Vol 18, PW 21 (18 Jun 15) People & Policy

India’s largest gas retailer Gujarat Gas Ltd, created on May 16 (last month) after the formal merger of former BG subsidiary Gujarat Gas Company and GSPC Gas, is expected to appoint a full-time managing director next month (July).

Everyone believes PPG Sarma, already acting MD since December 12, 2013 when earlier managing director Sugata Sircar returned to parent company BG, is best placed to take the role. Sarma, a former BG director business development and GSPC Gas CEO since 2006 has impressed many by heading up two major gas retailers simultaneously.

“Frankly I don’t know anybody else who has led two gas retailers,” says an industry source. Gujarat energy minister Saurabh Patel is also said to be happy with how Sarma is aggressively expanding the Gujarat Gas network in eastern Surat and the way both GSPC Gas and Gujarat Gas successfully ventured outside Gujarat.

On April 1, 2015, Gujarat Gas won PNGRB authorisation for Thane in north Maharashtra while GSPC Gas won Dadra and Nagar Haveli under the fourth retail gas round. Patel wants a professional to head Gujarat Gas, given its size, but a strong IAS lobby wants a bureaucrat - possibly Atanu Chakraborty who is also GSPC managing director.

“If Atanu as GSPC chief can head (stock market listed) Gujarat State Petronet then he can also be Gujarat Gas MD,” says a source.