An unusual appointment at IOC: Director of Finance picked again for the same post

New Delhi: Making it the first time a public sector undertakings director has been reemployed in the same position after retirement under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime, the government has reappointed AK Sharma as the Director (Finance) for Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL). Sharma retired as the director of the country’s top state-owned refiner on January 31 and as appointed to the same position again for three months, IOC said in a regulatory filing.

It must be noted that the appointment was made 18 days after a vacancy had been announced by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) on February 1 for the same position. The last date for sending in applications was August 20.

Elections in mind

Without providing any reasons for the reemployment, the refiner said Sharma’s reappointment has been in effect from February 18. However, the head of finance, who also oversees the pricing of petrol, diesel and other fuels, has been reemployed keeping the impending General Elections in mind, sources said. Sharma helmed the position at the time when fuel prices in India had skyrocketed and the government had asked oil marketing companies (OMCs) to absorb Re 1 cut in the fuel prices.

Reappointment valid for three months

“It is hereby notified that in terms of a letter by ministry of petroleum and natural gas dated February 15, 2019, the Board of IOC has appointed AK Sharma as Additional Director and designated as Director (Finance) of the company with effect from February 18, 2019, for a period of three months,” IOC said in the regulatory filing.

The refiner added that Sharma “has rich and varied experience in the petroleum industry and has handled various assignments in finance function both in marketing as well as the refinery division of Indian Oil.”

Although there was a proposal to reappoint Sharma, who was appointed IOC Director (Finance) in October 2014, for a period of six months, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan curtailed it to three months before forwarding it to the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC), sources say.

The last time the government gave any PSU director an extension after 60 years was in December 2013, when B Prasada Rao was handed a two-year extension as Chairman and MD of state-owned power equipment maker BHEL, the day he attained the superannuation age.