IndianOil outsider joins ONGC director HR race

Vol 21, PW 21 (26 Jul 18) People & Policy

IndianOil executive director human resources Umakant Prasad Singh has joined the race for the post of ONGC director HR amid allegations that interviews are being deliberately delayed by unseen forces hoping to eliminate rival candidates.

Vacant since June 30 when DD Misra stepped down, interviews for this prestigious position which holds the purse strings to an annual Rs500cr ($73m) corporate social responsibility budget have apparently been pushed back to August, though this could not be confirmed independently. A well-placed ONGC insider speaks of fears the delay could mean several candidates will no longer meet the condition that applicants should be aged less than 58 or have two years left to retirement at the time of the interview.

Luckily for Singh he will still be eligible because he will not have reached 58 by August 2018. "Singh will have taken all necessary approvals from his seniors before joining the race," we hear.

Well-connected, Singh is believed to have a strong chance of winning; his name is already familiar among the powers that be inside the PMO. If he were to win, it would not be the first time an IOC executive makes a big impact at ONGC.

Subir Raha, ONGC chairman and managing director from 2001 to 2006, was director human resources at IOC for three years from 1998-2001. "At ONGC," quips an IOC source, "some people still think Raha is 'God'."