Incoming GAIL director 'is a team player'

Vol 14, PW 1 (01 Jul 10) People & Policy

GAIL executive director S.

Venkatraman will be the company’s new director business development after beating 40 others for this much sought after post. Other promising but disappointed internal candidates were executive director (gas) Rajeev Mathur, executive director marketing (petrochemicals) J.

Wason and executive director (petrochemicals) CN Trivedi. PETROWATCH learns Venkatraman emerged first choice on June 18 after three days of interviews by the Public Enterprises Selection Board.

“Venkatraman is a go-getter,” says a friend and colleague. “He’s a team player and commands respect.

” Company insiders predicted Venkatraman would be a frontrunner because of his experience overseeing GAIL’s business development department for over three years as executive director. Venkatraman’s other key strength is that he is well-versed with the company’s large petrochemicals business, which contributes approximately 30% of GAIL’s total revenue.

“He was general manager at our petrochemicals plant at Pata in Uttar Pradesh,” adds a GAIL source. Venkatraman has also had solid experience marketing gas - the backbone of GAIL’s business.

“Before coming to Delhi (three years ago) Venkatraman was based in Ahmedabad for close to two years,” we are told. “There he marketed gas and petrochemicals.

” GAIL’s director business development position has been vacant since October 1 last year when AK Purwaha left to become the new Engineers India chairman. Executive director human resources and former Mahanagar Gas chief PK Gupta came a close second to Venkatraman during interviews.

Days before, rumour was rife Gupta had “managed things for himself” at the PESB. But it seems nothing came of his lobbying.

One cynical observer says Gupta hoped to emulate AK Purwaha, also a former Mahanagar Gas chief before becoming GAIL director business development.