New Delhi: Eight candidates including Najeeb Jung, a former joint secretary in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, are left in race for the the post of chairman and managing director of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC).
The Search Committee, constituted to select the chief executive of India’s highest profit making firm after the Prime Minister’s Office rejected the selection done by Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB), is likely to meet on 17 April to decide if eminent persons who had not applied should also be called for interview, official sources said.
The initial screening of over four dozen applications received for the top job earlier this week left six directors from ONGC and two outsiders.
Sources said prominent among those shortlisted is 56-year old Jung, who in 1995 resigned from the civil services after a 23-year stint to join the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
He was joint secretary (exploration) in early 1990s and is currently visiting fellow at the Oxford Energy Research Centre in London and also Director (Energy Research) at Reliance Industries-funded Observer Research Foundation.
Other key contenders include R.S. Butola, managing director of ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of ONGC, and ONGC’s acting chairman R.S. Sharma, who was selected by PESB for the job in August 2006 but didn’t find favour with the PMO.
ONGC director (exploration) D K Pandey, director (onshore) A K Hazarika, director (HR) A K Balyan and director (technical services) U N Bose are also in the fray, besides GAIL director (HR) M R Hingnikar.
Besides Jung, only Butola had not appeared for the August 2006 interviews conducted by PSEB that found Sharma as most suitable candidate and Hazarika as the second best.
Sources said GAIL director (finance) R K Goel and Indian Oil Corp director (planning and business development) B M Bansal too had applied for the ONGC top job, but are are not being considered as they have not completed two years in their present assignment.
According to rules, a person appointed as director in a public sector company has to complete at least two years in office before he or she can apply for an opening in another PSU.
While Bansal was appointed on IOC board on 22 November 2005, Goel joined GAIL board on 1 November 2005.
ONGC’s director (offshore) N K Mitra was also not considered as he super-annuates on 31 January 2009.
As per rules, an internal candidate should have at least two years of service left for being considered for a board position. For persons applying from outside the company, the minimum period desirable is three years to retirement.
Sources said the Search Committee is also likely to decide on 17 April as the date for holding interviews of the short-listed candidates and of any candidate it may desire to call suo moto.