EIL contenders face opposition from secretary Pandey

Vol 12, PW 22 (09 Apr 09) People & Policy

In our last issue, we wrote that by March 31 we should know who would be the next chairman of Engineers India - but we don’t.

Rarely does the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) refuse to announce a winner after interviewing shortlisted candidates. But that’s exactly what happened following interviews on March 30 to find a replacement for EIL chairman Mukesh Rohatgi, who steps down on October 1.

Typically, the PESB would send its recommendation to the oil ministry in a sealed envelope, but the identity of the â€کnumber one’ and â€کnumber two’ always leaks out. “This time there is no â€کnumber one’ or â€کnumber two’,â€‌ says a well-placed source.

“The PESB has not sent any names to the oil ministry. The â€کfile’ with the two names is still in the (PESB) secretary’s office.

â€‌ EIL executive directors GD Goyal and Deepak Mudgil were the first of 10 candidates to be interviewed by the PESB panel of oil secretary RS Pandey, PESB chairman Naresh Narad, members VS Jain and C. Phonsog.

OP Pradhan, executive director at Hindustan Petroleum, and himself a promising candidate, was the third interviewed, with the rest following later. “Goyal spent 45 minutes inside,â€‌ adds a source.

“Mudgil was there for less than half an hour; Pradhan was interviewed for a little over half an hour.â€‌ AR Choudhury, chairman of the National Building Construction Corporation, and another â€کpromising external’ candidate’, failed to appear for the interview.

Informally, it’s believed Goyal was the PESB’s first choice, while Mudgil came second, but neither impressed oil secretary RS Pandey, who apparently remarked to PESB chairman Narad that they “didn’t have enough experience.â€‌ Goyal has been an executive director for a year and a half only, while Mudgil was promoted to ED only six months ago.

Pandey is believed to have made it clear he wants more directors from state-owned companies to apply so the PESB has a wider choice.

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