Prabhat Singh likely marketing director at GAIL

Vol 13, PW 10 (22 Oct 09) People & Policy

Former GAIL general manager Prabhat Singh who is now director at BG subsidiary Gujarat Gas has been ranked first by the Public Enterprises Selection Board after interviews on October 20 and 21 to select a marketing director for GAIL.

Jitendra Wason, GAIL executive director, has been ranked second. Usually, the candidate who is ranked first gets the job, unless there is an upset in favour of the second ranked candidate.

GAIL insiders are unhappy that the PESB called only 15 company employees for the interviews. Of the 29 internal candidates GAIL originally suggested, only 14 were initially shortlisted, along with 15 from other state owned companies like Indian Oil and Mangalore Refineries.

GAIL candidates not called, such as AK Rudra, executive director human resources, and SK Singh, executive director contracts and procurement, wondered how the PESB chose its shortlist and complained to GAIL top management. GAIL then sent all 29 CVs again, but the PESB refused to change its position, rejecting them all, except one: it added GAIL general manager projects Ashutosh Karnatak to the shortlist.

BC Tripathi, who left the director marketing post vacant on August 1 after his promotion as chairman, tells PETROWATCH that in the past the PESB usually shortlisted all eligible internal candidates suggested by GAIL. “That’s what we’ve seen till now,â€‌ he says.

Also odd is the fact that several external candidates with little or no gas sector experience were shortlisted, such as AK Bal, commissioner of income tax, Deepak Moudgil, executive director Engineers India and SR Rai, general manager Steel Authority of India. “The PESB assumes that product marketing experience is the only requirement for this job,â€‌ says a GAIL source, wryly.

“GAIL is not a soap or toothpaste marketing company!â€‌ He adds that the director marketing job profile includes sourcing gas, negotiating prices, dealing with city gas joint ventures, all of which require gas sector experience. “Before Tripathi became director marketing,â€‌ we hear, “he was handling projects.

â€‌ GAIL is adamant the PESB should have called all the names it suggested and shortlisted fewer candidates from outside.