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June 6, 2024

Government Resumes Search for New Chairman of Indian Oil Corporation

The Indian government has reignited the search for a new chairman for the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), concluding the speculation regarding the future of current chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has posted an advertisement seeking qualified candidates to fill this significant role.

According to the ministry’s advertisement, applications are invited from engineers, chartered accountants, and cost accountants who hold postgraduate management degrees from esteemed institutions. Candidates should possess a minimum of five years of experience in leadership roles and must submit their applications by July 3.

The eligibility criteria specify that internal candidates must be under 58 years old, while external candidates should be no older than 57. The retirement age for this position is set at 60 years.

Vaidya, who assumed the role on July 1, 2020, was scheduled to retire on August 31, 2023, upon reaching the age of 60. However, in an unusual move, he was granted re-employment on a contract basis for an additional year, extending his tenure until August 31, 2024. This decision was formalized in an official order dated August 4, 2023.

To identify Vaidya’s successor, a three-member search-cum-selection committee was established. This committee is led by the chairperson of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) and includes the oil secretary and former Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) chairman M K Surana.

The committee, however, faced challenges regarding the age eligibility criteria. Initially, the ministry proposed allowing candidates up to the age of 61 to be considered, which would have made Vaidya eligible. However, this proposal did not receive approval from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Consequently, the government reverted to the previous system, setting the retirement age at 60.

Historically, no chairman of a Maharatna Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) has received an extension beyond 60 years in recent years. For example, Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra was denied an eight-month extension as Director (Human Resources) of IOC last year. Similarly, the PESB did not recommend any candidates for the IOC chairman position after interviewing 10 applicants, including Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL) managing director Arvind Kumar.

IOC’s situation mirrors a recent instance involving the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), where PESB did not find a suitable candidate from nine applicants. A search-cum-selection panel was subsequently formed, appointing Arun Kumar Singh, who had retired from Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) at the age of 60, to head ONGC. Singh’s appointment necessitated a change in eligibility rules to allow consideration of candidates who had reached 60 years.

The advertisement from the ministry confirms that the new chairman will be selected by the search-cum-selection committee. IOC is a pivotal entity in India’s energy sector, refining crude oil into various products including petrol, diesel, LPG, and aviation turbine fuel. The company is also engaged in the production of petrochemicals and the retailing of compressed natural gas (CNG).

As India’s largest oil refining company, IOC operates ten refineries with a combined capacity of 80.6 million tonnes, which constitutes nearly one-third of India’s total refining capacity of 251.2 million tonnes. The corporation also owns 36,285 of the country’s 86,855 petrol pumps and half of the nation’s 25,386 LPG distributors. Additionally, IOC runs 131 out of 283 aviation fuel stations in India.

Besides its core operations, IOC plays a crucial role in India’s energy transition, moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and lithium-ion batteries. This makes the appointment of its new chairman a critical decision for the country’s future energy landscape.

Read more Business related news on R9 News
Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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