Battle for top job at National Thermal Power

Vol 4, PW 13 (02 Aug 00) People & Policy

In theory Rajendra Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of India's National Thermal Power Corporation, should have retired on July 31st.

But will he Today everyone is asking if he will he be given an extension as chairman. If not, who will be his successor Highly-placed sources in the Ministry of Power tell Petrowatch that if Singh fails to get an extension it will be a straight duel between HL Bajaj, Director Commercial and CP Jain, Director Finance.

An informed source said both men are lobbying intensely for the post. Battle lines are drawn between those who believe that a technical person (Bajaj) should occupy the post and those who believe it should be a finance man (Jain).

Rangarajan Kumaramangalam, the Indian power minister, is said to favour Jain, although the reasons for this are not clear. It is reliably understood Kumaramangalam has recommended Jain over Bajaj to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) - the ultimate deciding authority for a transfer at this level.

In his recommendation, Kumaramangalam cited the precedent of K Ramachandran, a former finance man, who today runs Bharat Heavy Electricals. It is no secret that Kumaramangalam and outgoing chairman Rajendra Singh were never friends.

If the minister has his way, Singh will not get an extension and Jain will occupy his chair. But will the minister have his waySingh has been at NTPC for eight years.

Admirers say he transformed the company from one that struggled to pay its employees into one of the most cash-rich 'Navratnas' ('Crown Jewels') in the country.