Mahesh Lal of HPCL in race for IOC chairman

Vol 8, PW 14 (06 Oct 04) News in Brief

Hindustan Petroleum chairman Mahesh B Lal is the latest to join the race to be chairman of Indian Oil when MS Ramachandran retires in March 2005.

Lal is among eight candidates on a list sent to the Public Enterprises Selection Board. Interviews will be held either this month or early November, reveals a ministry official.

Oil secretary Sushil Tripathi will be on the interview panel and his opinion is crucial. PESB normally goes by the parent ministrys recommendations.

Lals application has taken industry by surprise. He stands no chance, says a source.

An outsider will not be acceptable to IOC staff. And the ministry might not back him because his performance at HPCL has not been outstanding.

This leaves Bharat Petroleum chairman Sarthak Behuria and IOC directors AM Uplenchwar and NK Nayyar as front-runners. Behuria is also an outsider but he has sufficient clout in the ministry to move things his way.