Hunt begins for new ONGC chairman

Vol 23, PW 9 (12 Mar 20) News in Brief

Not only does OP Singh take charge as ONGC director technical and field services from April 1 but he also becomes the only director eligible to apply for the chairman’s job.

ONGC insiders say no director presently on the Board is eligible by the May 11 deadline to replace Shashi Shanker because they do not have the mandatory two years to retirement from the date of the vacancy on April 1 (2021). Singh, however, will complete the minimum one year as a director by April 1 (2021) and will be eligible.

The PESB usually advertises positions 12 months before a vacancy, but here the advert appeared 13 months in advance. Some speculate the ministry wants to restrict Shanker’s influence.

"Public perception is the day the post is advertised the incumbent becomes powerless to dispense favours," says an industry source. Singh reportedly enjoys the support of Shanker following his loyalty when Shanker was suspended for three months from February 2015 over misconduct allegations in a Blow out Preventer tender.

Shanker also reportedly backs Amit Narayan, Cambay basin asset manager. Others expected to apply are Ahmedabad asset manager Pankaj Kumar; incoming Rajahmundry asset manager Adesh Kumar; and Mumbai High asset manager Namit Sharma.