Monday, April 18, 2016

When will OIL get its full-time CMD?

STATE-owned oil major Oil India Limited (OIL) is running without a full-time chairman and managing director (CMD) since July 1 last year. The post of the Navaratna PSU is being temporarily held by a Petroleum Ministry IAS officer UP Singh. Without a full-time head, the oil major’s production has been affected. Public sector head hunter Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) has so far held two interviews to select an OIL CMD. Initially, the company’s director (finance), Rupshikha Saikia Borah was selected. However, due to opposition from...
the Prime Minister’s Office, her appointment was rejected.
On the second occasion, the PESB, after interviewing over ten applicants, decided that “more applicants need to be interviewed”.
Early, the Government of India constituted a “search committee” to select an OIL CMD, with three members: PMO principal secretary Nripendra Mishra, oil industry veteran Bikash Chandra Borah and MoPNG secretary, KD Tripathy (he is a 1980 batch IAS of the Assam Meghalaya cadre).
A highly qualified professional, Northeast India’s first woman chartered accountant, Fulbright scholar, Rupshikha Saikia Borah, is also an alumnus of the Delhi School of Economics. She, despite her credentials, now appears to have lost an opportunity to be OIL’s first woman chief. The search committee has invited 15 persons for a viva voce on April 25 this year in New Delhi. This list does not have Rupshikha Saikia Borah’s name.
This search committee received about 60 applications for the OIL CMD post, including that of Saikia Borah. A large number of IAS officers also applied, as a vital precondition was relaxed for this one instance.
The waived condition was that IAS officers have to resign from civil service if they apply for a PSU post. The IAS lobby also facilitated mid-term repatriation from OIL to their parent cadre, as if in a deputation post. This seemingly unfair term in favour of the IAS is being frowned upon in the petroleum industry, as IAS officers have not been vested with profitability and proficiency responsibilities, but an easy exit route, in case matters get too hot in the volatile oil industry.
The search committee has shortlisted 15 candidates for the interview in New Delhi to select the next OIL CMD. These 15 include three IAS officials, who have almost nothing to do with the petroleum industry: Ravi Capoor, Jishnu Baruah and Anil Kumar Jain.
Earlier, in 2013, Rupshikha Saikia Borah became the first woman functional director on the board of Oil India Limited (OIL), when she took over as director (finance) of the nation’s second biggest state-owned exploration and production firm. The first woman Chartered Accountant from the North-East India, she was brilliant student and an alumnus of prestigious Delhi School of Economics.
Rupshikha received prestigious Fulbright Hubert Humphrey Fellowship, USA. Rupshikha is the wife of former OIL CMD NM Borah, who was responsible for Oil India’s foray into international exploration activities. With vast experience in the oil and gas exploration and production industry, he joined Oil India Board on May 6, 2004 as director (operations) and was elevated to the position of CMD in 2008. Under his leadership, Oil India Limited had been on a constant growth path and through induction of state-of-the-art and fit for purpose technology, had achieved record growth in production. In fact, he gave OIL a brand new corporate image. No doubt, her family background and the impact of her husband will come handy for this woman of substance in handling the affairs of the company.  In the year 2009, Mrs Borah received the special commendation award for Woman of the Year in The Oil & Gas Industry. She was then functioning as a general manager (Treasury) of the PSU. Mrs Borah has over 29 years of experience in diverse fields of financial management, audit, treasury, corporate finance and strategic planning and it will be interesting to see how far this lady succeeds in making her mark in the PSU.

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