Two IAS officers enter GAIL chairman race

Vol 22, PW 26 (17 Oct 19) People & Policy

Two IAS officers figure among ten candidates shortlisted for the coveted GAIL chairman position amid widespread speculation the government wants an IAS officer and/or outsider to manage the company's expected de-merger.

This report learns the PESB will interview six GAIL and four external candidates on October 25 and sent out letters on October 11 inviting them to appear. "The six GAIL candidates will be interviewed from 10am," reports a source.

"And the four external candidates will be interviewed starting 12.30pm the same day." In the race are IAS officers Manoj Kumar, additional chief secretary in the power, finance and forest department in the Tripura state government; and Jyoti Kalash, additional chief secretary and resident commissioner at Nagaland House, based in Delhi.

"The oil ministry might prefer an outsider," speculates a source. "An internal candidate might not want the company split up (into separate transmission and marketing businesses) but an outsider won't be carrying any emotional baggage and can unbundle the company easily."

Other external candidates include IndianOil executive directors Rahul Bhardwaj and DL Pramodh. The six shortlisted GAIL candidates are: director business development Manoj Jain; director finance Anjani Kumar Tiwari; Indraprastha Gas chief ES Ranganathan; executive directors Munukutla Vasuki Ravi Someswarudu and Amarnath Pandey; and GAIL Gas chief Asit Kumar Jana.

Once selected, the new chairman will replace interim chairman Ashutosh Karnatak who will return to his earlier role as director projects.