Uncertainty over Jain's position as GAIL chairman

Vol 5, PW 4 (11 Apr 01) People & Policy

Uncertainty surrounds the future of J.

K Jain, acting chairman of Gas Authority of India. Will he get an extension or won't he That's the question everyone at GAIL - and a fair number outside - are asking.

On 2nd February GAIL announced that finance director Jain, aged 56, had assumed additional charge of chairman and managing director for three months, following C.R Prasad's retirement on 31st January.

On 31st April those three months are over. For the next 15 days Jain will be waitingto see if he gets an extension as chairman.

It's a nervous few days ahead because on April 20th his term as finance director also comes up for review, after his statutory five years. Uncertainty therefore on two counts: his role as chairman and as finance director.

Most within GAIL believe Jain should be allowed to stay on, and in all likelihood he will. Why In October last year he came second to Prashant Banerjee in a shortlist to replace Prasad - a move condemned on two counts: Banerjee is only an 'executive director' and never before has a PSU official been appointed chairman before reaching rank of director; second, rumours (unproven) that his selection came through a personal recommendation from Ranjan Bhattacharya, the prime minister's son-in law.

People are using this against Banerjee, and that's good news for Jain!

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