Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has approved appointment of B. Ashok as the head of India’s largest oil firm, IOC, in what will be the first top level appointment by the new government.

B. Ashok, Executive Director (Retail Sales) at Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), was on October 9, 2013, chosen to head the company by government head-hunters Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB), but the previous UPA government could not appoint him before its tenure ended.

The Prime Minister’s Office, where Mr. Ashok’s appointment file was pending since last month, had sought Mr. Pradhan’s comments on the issue.

“The Minister has consented to Ashok’s appointment and the file has been sent to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) for processing,” a ministry official said.

Once approved the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, formal appointment orders will be issued.

Mr. Ashok (57) was to succeed R.S. Butola who retired from service on May 31 on attaining superannuation age of 60 years.

Since a full-time chairman was not appointed in time, R.K. Malhotra, Director (R&D) and senior-most director on IOC board, has been given additional charge for the time-being.

This would be the first appointment by the new government on IOC board, where all directors are retiring this fiscal.

Mr. Malhotra, who is acting chairman, is due to retire by the month end. And if by then Mr. Ashok is not appointed, the additional charge will be given to the next senior most director, AMK Sinha, Director for Business Development.

Mr. Sinha will retire by July end and P.K. Goyal, Director (Finance), in the following month.

R.K. Ghosh, Director (Refineries) too will retire by month end while Director (Marketing) M. Nene would demit office by end of December. Director (HRD) post is vacant and V.S. Okhde, the only the functional director on company board, will superannuate on January 31, 2015.

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