All eyes on next IndianOil director refineries

Vol 22, PW 9 (21 Feb 19) People & Policy

Three IndianOil executive director rank candidates are widely expected to apply by the March 29 deadline in the race to replace director refineries BV Rama Gopal when he retires on July 31: ED operations SM Vaidya, ED projects Suresh Chopra and ED Haldia refinery CK Tiwari.

Among the three, Vaidya is tipped to have the best chance. An ED for the past year, Vaidya is a chemical engineer with more than five years left until retirement.

Within IndianOil there's a feeling among some that only a chemical engineer should be allowed to become director refineries. But the PESB also lets mechanical engineers apply - giving rival Chopra, who qualified as a mechanical engineer, a strong chance.

As ED for the past three years, Chopra tried for the director refineries position in September 2017 when Rama Gopal was selected. "He (Chopra) is a mechanical engineer, it's true."

says a source. "But he is also a good candidate."

Others stress the director refineries position is strictly a managerial role least concerned with chemistry or chemical reactions. "In the past at least two mechanical engineers have become director refineries," we hear.

Last but not least, Haldia refinery boss Tiwari also has experience of the Barauni refinery and Panipat Naphtha Cracker. One of the biggest challenges for whoever wins will be to oversee construction of the highly controversial proposed 60m t/y refinery in Maharashtra.