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Subhash Kumar gets second extension as ad-hoc ONGC chief

New Delhi: Rather than getting on with the process of selecting a chief for India's biggest oil and gas producer Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), the government on Friday decided to continue with its ad-hoc appointee Subhash Kumar as chairman and managing director for another three months.

"The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for extension of additional charge of the post of CMD, ONGC assigned to Subhash Kumar, Director (Finance), ONGC for a further period of three months with effect from 1 October 2021 to 31 December 2021, i.e the date of his superannuation…" says the government order dated October 1, 2021.

However, the order from the Department of Personnel & Training adds that the three-month extension was conditional until "the appointment of a regular incumbent to the post, or until further orders, whichever is the earliest".

The proposal for the second extension to Kumar was moved by ONGC's nodal Petroleum Ministry on August 23.

Kumar, the senior-most Director at ONGC, has been officiating as its boss since April this year after Shashi Shanker superannuated on March 31. Kumar retires on December 31 this year.

On June 4, the government head hunter Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) rejected all nine applicants interviewed for the post of ONGC CMD and passed the onus on a Search Committee to be constituted in the PESB.

This decision, PESB said, was taken "keeping in view the strategic importance and vision for the company and its future". However, despite the criticality, the proposal for constituting the Search Committee has been pending with the ACC since last month, said sources.

Shanker's successor should have been named six months before his retirement, which is the norm, but the process got delayed as PESB was headless for seven months.

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