Special Correspondent

PESB sends only one name to Ministry

NEW DELHI: The present acting Chairman and Managing Director of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), R. S. Sharma, is clearly going to be the new incumbent. Following interviews held here on Wednesday, the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) is believed to have sent only one name instead of a panel to the Petroleum Ministry for its consideration. Normally, a panel of three names is submitted and this is then sent to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) for its approval.

Informed sources say there is, therefore, not much room for doubt that Mr. Sharma would assume this position as soon as the formality of ACC clearance was completed. Mr. Sharma will take over the reins of the highest profit making company at a time when it has embarked on a major global expansion drive. The previous incumbent, Subir Raha, who retired in May, had launched the expansion programmes but became embroiled in controversy when he had differences with the previous Petroleum Minister, Mani Shankar Aiyar. Mr. Sharma appears to have had no such problems with the present Petroleum Minister Murli Deora. The process of clearing the recommendation of the PESB at various level is, however, expected to take a few months, sources say.

The acting ONGC chief joined the company as Joint Director (Finance) in 1988. He has had varied experience in project and corporate finance affairs of ONGC. Before taking charge of the post of Director (Finance) on March 1, 2002, he functioned for a short duration as Director (Finance) of ONGC Videsh Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of ONGC. Prior to joining ONGC, Mr. Sharma had rich experience in finance, banking and credit appraisal, including an overseas posting as regional finance head of a public sector construction company, in the early Eighties.