Proshanto Banerjee new chairman of GAIL

Vol 5, PW 14 (29 Aug 01) People & Policy

Whoops! We were wrong in assuming that GAIL finance director J.

K Jain would be confirmed in his acting role of GAIL chairman after his clean chit from the Central Vigilance Commission. But on 27th August - and to general astonishment within the oil industry - Proshanto Banerjee, aged 54, moved into the chairman's office at company HQ in Delhi's Bhikaiji Cama Place - nine months after interviews in which he came first, and Jain second.

Banerjee was Indian Oil's executive director marketing in Mumbai. He was also shortlisted as Indian Oil's marketing director.

Which job would he have chosen if both came in at the same time "Obviously GAIL!" he tells PETROWATCH from his home last weekend. "It is a notch above director at IOC." Was he surprised the job came through at all "Not really.

It's a question of patience. There is a saying in the oil industry: first in, first out, meaning what goes into an oil pipeline first comes out first and the GAIL interview was held in October 2000 while the Indian Oil interview was in April 2001." Banerjee's appointment sets a precedent, as never before has a PSU official been appointed chairman before reaching the rank of director.

He entered the race just three days before interviews, sparking allegations that he won the job through his close relations with Ranjan Bhattacharya, the prime minister's son-in-law. Banerjee denies this.