New LIC chairman to be appointed in 10 days: Finmin

New LIC chairman to be appointed in 10 days: Finmin

Mumbai: Ending months of indecision, the government is set to appoint a full-time chairman for life insurance giant LIC in the next 10 days, a top finance ministry official has said.

“I say it will be very shortly, that could be a week or 10 days," Financial services secretary D K Mittal told a select group of reporters here over the weekend. Mittal blamed the delay on the long process to be followed while selecting such a candidate.

Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) has been without a full- time chairman since May, after then-chairman T S Vijayan’s five-year term ended.

As an interim arrangement, the additional secretary in the finance ministry, Rakesh Singh, was appointed as the chairman of LIC. Subsequently, D K Mehrotra, the incumbent managing director, was asked to officiate as the chairman of the country’s largest financial institution.

A selection panel headed by economic affairs secretary R Gopalan had invited four probable candidates for the post in June. But the panel could not come to a decision, as two of the contenders did not have central vigilance clearance.

When asked about the names being discussed, Mittal said, “That’s for the selection committee to decide. What I am saying is that this process is on and very shortly, you will get a final (decision)".

According to earlier reports, the shortlisted candidates -- all from within LIC’s ranks -- include current acting chairman D K Mehrotra, managing director Thomas Mathew and executive directors A K Sahoo, T T Mathew and K B Saha.

Several questions have been raised about the government’s inability to find a full-time leader for LIC, which has assets exceeding 10 lakh crore, especially at a time when it faces competition from over 23 aggressive private players following the opening up of the sector a decade ago.