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Prabhat Singh, PK Bajpai among 13 in race to head Petronet LNG

Prabhat Singh, PK Bajpai among 13 in race to head Petronet LNG GAIL Director (Marketing) Prabhat Singh and BHEL Director (Finance) P K Bajpai are among the 13 candidates in race to become Managing Director and CEO of Petronet LNG, the nation’s biggest liquid gas importer.

A Search Committee will hold interviews to select the new MD and CEO tomorrow, industry sources said.

Besides Singh and Bajpai, Oil India Ltd Chairman and Managing Director S K Srivastava and Engineers India Ltd (EIL) head A K Purwaha are also in the race.

Others who applied for the post at close of applications on March 20 include GAIL Directors P K Jain and Ashutosh Karnatak, Petronet LNG Ltd Director (Finance) R K Garg and its Director (Technical) Rajender Singh, they said.

Sources said interview call letters have been sent to all those who applied on March 21.

The government has decided not to give an extension to incumbent A K Balyan.

The candidates have been called for an interview before a three-member Search Committee on March 30, they said.

Petronet is majority owned by state-owned oil firms ONGC, GAIL, BPCL and IOC but is registered as a private company and its MD & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has always been appointed by a panel of promoter firms.

However, this time around a three-member panel comprising Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) Chairman and Managing Director Dinesh K Sarraf and two independent directors on Petronet Board — Arun Kumar Misra and Sushil Kumar Gupta — has been formed, sources said.

Balyan’s five-year term ends on July 15 and he is eligible for an extension till he attains the superannuation age in July 2016, but the Ministry whose secretary is the Chairman of the company, has decided against giving him an extension.

On March 3, an advertisement was issued inviting applications for the new CEO and candidates with “exceptional leadership qualities, strong negotiation and communications skills and familiarity with finance/project management in large organisation” were asked to apply by March 20.

The window for applying for the job has been cut to just two weeks instead of four weeks during previous times, they said.

Balyan, who turns 64 in July, was appointed Managing Director and CEO of Petronet for a five-year term beginning July 16, 2010, with the condition that it could be extended till his superannuation age of 65 years.

Sources said the Ministry is keen to appoint a new head before Oil Secretary Saurabh Chandra retires at the end of April.

The new head, however, will assume charge from July 16.

Balyan, who was then Director for Human Resources and Business Development in ONGC, was in May 2010 selected for the top job at Petronet by a panel consisting of the heads of the promoters of the company.

– PTI