Engineers India waves goodbye to popular Rohatgi

Vol 12, PW 21 (26 Mar 09) People & Policy

By March 31 or a day later on April Fool’s Day we should know who will be chosen as the new chairman of state-owned consultant Engineers India.

PETROWATCH learns the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) has fixed March 30 to interview 13 shortlisted contenders to replace outgoing boss Mukesh Rohatgi, EIL chairman since October 1, 2005, but retiring in October this year, aged 60. Until now the most obvious replacement was Rohatgi’s colleague and EIL finance director for seven years D.

Chakrabarti, whose seniority and experience made his appointment to the top job a near certainty. But on December 23 last year Chakrabarti resigned from EIL to widespread disbelief.

Disappointed, the government accepted his resignation only four months later on March 4. Chakrabarti’s decision leaves the field wide open for two promising internal candidates: executive directors Deepak Mudgil (infrastructure and pipelines) and GD Goyal (technical).

Company insiders resist the temptation to pronounce either the â€کfavourite’ or â€کfront-runner’. “This is a crucial time,â€‌ says one.

“Both of them are busy networking.â€‌ Another complains that EIL has failed to cultivate a leader from within.

“Rohatgi came from Bharat Petroleum,â€‌ we hear. “I won’t be surprised if an â€کoutsider’ gets the job this time too.

â€‌ Before joining EIL, Rohatgi was director refineries at Bharat Petroleum, the country’s second largest state refiner after IOC. Among the notable â€کoutsiders’ competing for his position are: OP Pradhan, executive director, planning and strategy at HPCL and AR Choudhury, chairman of the National Building Construction Corporation.

During his time as EIL chairman Rohatgi accumulated much goodwill among staff and peers, evident during a function at Delhi’s Air Force auditorium on March 15 (Sunday) to hand over â€کLong Service Awards’ to â€کthank’ past and present EIL employees for their contribution to the company. Among others, oil secretary RS Pandey and IOC chairman Sarthak Behuria were there.

“Pandey was vocal in praising Rohatgi,â€‌ we hear. “He said other companies should follow EIL’s example.

â€‌ Equally effusive praise came from EIL staff, past and present.

LNG Summit