Priti Mathur frontrunner for ONGC director HR

Vol 14, PW 11 (18 Nov 10) People & Policy

Amelia Earhart set a world record for female pilots in 1922 by taking her aircraft up to 14,000-ft.

Nearly a century later, ONGC executive director Priti Mathur might fly just as high. PETROWATCH learns Mathur is one of the frontrunners in a race to become the next ONGC director human resources, a post which fell vacant this July when AK Balyan moved to Petronet-LNG as CEO.

“She commands respect,” says a company source, “and is well-liked by a few board members.” With a reputation for efficiency, Mathur heads ONGC’s corporate planning department and is known for her pleasant personality.

If she wins, she would make history by becoming the first woman on ONGC’s traditionally male-dominated board. But her hopes could be dashed if strong competitor KS Jamestin manages to work his own high-flying connections.

Jamestin heads the HR department at ONGC’s Mumbai office and is hectically lobbying oil secretary S. Sundareshan for the director HR post; witnesses observed him “hovering” around Sundareshan at the Petrotech conference in Delhi this month.

“Jamestin was definitely up to something,” says an ONCC source. Like Sundareshan, he adds, Jamestin speaks Malayalam and is from Kerala.

Jamestin is also believed to have ties with India’s Malayalam-speaking defence minister AK Anthony and with Margaret Alva, the former general secretary of India’s ruling Congress Party and the current governor of Uttarakhand. “Jamestin tries to meet Alva whenever he can,” we are told.

Other internal candidates in the race for this ONGC director post include Tauqir Hussain, who is chief of human resources; Sundar Lal, who is chief of employee relationships; and executive director Anil Johri who is chief of the company’s Ahmedabad ‘asset’. The PESB advertised this post on September 22 and has set November 29 as the CV submission deadline.