PESB begins selection of new ONGC chairman

Vol 13, PW 17 (11 Feb 10) People & Policy

It’s not official yet, and even the advertisement has yet to be published or released.

But PETROWATCH learns the Public Enterprises Selection Board has begun the process of selecting a new ONGC chairman to replace RS Sharma who will retire next year on January 31, 2011. We hear the process formally began on February 4 when the PESB sent a letter to oil secretary S.

Sundareshan asking him to approve the job description. “This process is always followed before an advertisement announcing a board level position in a public sector company is published on the PESB website or in newspapers,â€‌ explains a well-placed source.

“Normally we give 10 days to the concerned ministry to reply.â€‌ He adds the oil ministry had not replied as of February 9.

Once Sundareshan gives the go-ahead, the PESB which is made up of the chairman, three permanent members and the secretary, will approve the job description. “That process can take up to a month as the PESB is short staffed,â€‌ we hear.

“Expect to see the advertisement only in March.â€‌ Observers have already started analysing the present board of directors to pick a potential winner.

Director exploration DK Pande can be safely ruled out, as he retires at the same time as Sharma, if he wins a four-month extension. Director onshore AK Hazarika, director human resources AK Balyan and director technology and field services UN Bose can also be eliminated from the race, as they will have less than three years to retirement.

That leaves director finance DK Sarraf and director offshore Sudhir Vasudeva as the only eligible candidates. “Vasudeva will just make it, as he will have three years to retirement when the vacancy opens up,â€‌ we learn.

Sarraf’s well-wishers say he could walk away with the prize as he is on the same trajectory as Sharma – first as OVL director finance then ONGC director finance, and subsequently chairman.