Speculation mounts over Singh's IOC successor

Vol 22, PW 21 (08 Aug 19) People & Policy

With less than two weeks before the deadline for CVs, speculation is mounting over IndianOil chairman Sanjiv Singh's successor.

Sandeep Gupta's confirmation on August 2 as IndianOil's new director finance arguably gives him a stronger chance of clinching the position, assuming he'll apply. "Preference is always given to sitting directors," says a source, "and Gupta is a serious contender."

Gupta won the director finance position to replace AK Sharma who retired in May 2019 after PESB interviews on March 25 (2019). As executive director, he sat on the Boards of IndiaOil affiliates IOC Middle East FZE and IndianOil Petronas.

Also widely talked about is director human resources Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra whose biggest advantage is that he's from Orissa, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan's home state. Mohapatra is also believed to be close to Pradhan.

"His chances of winning are good," we hear. In addition to his relationship with Pradhan, Mohapatra claims extensive marketing experience, most notably when he led IndianOil's succesful operations in Mauritius.

SSV Ramakumar, director in charge of the critically important but low profile R&D division, is also expected to apply. But as R&D represents only a small segment of IOC's business his chances are believed to be slim.

Another likely candidate is incoming director refineries SM Vaidya, selected by the PESB on June 21 to replace outgoing director refineries BV Rama Gopal.