Private sector candidates are welcome to apply for the top job at ONGC. CNBC-TV18 reports that after keeping acting chairman R S Sharma, who is the director, finance of the public sector undertaking, hanging for eight months, the government is on the look out for a candidate.
Interestingly, Sharma''s tenure as director, finance, ONGC, comes to an end this month end and he will cease to be on the ONGC Board. The government, however, says that it would grant him an extension.
The government has decided to cast its net wider for a candidate to head ONGC, and private sector executives are welcome. This is the explanation given for the prime minister''s office, rejecting the selection of R S Sharma as the chairman.
Sharma has been acting ONGC chief since May 2006, after Subir Raha superannuated. A new chairman would be appointed in three months. Till then, Sharma will continue in the job.
And if looking for a head from the private sector is a first, so will be the new selection criteria. The selection committee will now include the petroleum secretary and two independent experts. Some might see this as undermining the authority of the public enterprises selection board as currently constituted.
The oil ministry has made it clear that Sharma''s integrity and competence aren''t in doubt and he can reapply. The government however, has not been able to explain why a rethink took eight months.
The contest for the top job at ONGC has always been controversial. Last year, the company saw the stormy exit of Subir Raha. Company sources say that this would affect the company''s operations because the powers of the acting CMD are limited and he cannot take major decisions.