Balyan takes over as CEO and MD of Petronet LNG

Ashok Kumar Balyan has taken over as the chief executive officer and managing director of Petronet LNG Ltd, the nation?s largest liquefied natural gas importer. Balyan, who completed M Tech from IIT-Delhi and PhD from Germany, was director for Human Resources and Business Development in Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) before joining Petronet, official sources said.  He has more than three-and-a-half decades of experience in exploration, production operations, project management, business development and human resource functions.  A panel, comprising heads of promoter firms of PLL, had selected Balyan for the top job in May, after interviewing seven candidates including former Indian Oil (IOC) chairman Sarthak Behuria, and Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) chairman and managing director Arun Balakrishnan. PLL director (Finance) Amitabh Sengupta was the panel?s second-best choice. After his selection, Balyan resigned from ONGC, from where he was due to retire on July 31, 2011, on attaining the superannuation age of 60 years. As Petronet is a private firm, the retirement age there is 65 years. Balyan has been appointed for an initial period of five years as CEO and managing director, which can be further extended till he attains 65 years of age.

Besides Balakrishnan and Behuria, S K Roongta (who was chairman of steel maker SAIL on the date of the interview) and GAIL finance director R K Goel were among the candidates who appeared before the search committee on May 29, official sources said.

The post of CEO and managing director of PLL became vacant after Prosad Dasgupta opted for early retirement. Dasgupta?s five-year term was to come to an end on August 31 and he was eligible for a two-year extension till he attained superannuation at the age of 65 in 2012. He, however, quit the job in May. Oil secretary S Sundareshan, who is the chairman of PLL, constituted the search committee comprising representatives of IOC, ONGC, GAIL, Bharat Petroleum and Gaz de France. Petronet Independent director DP Roy was also on the committee. The four oil PSUs hold 12.5 per cent stake each in Petronet, while GdF has 10 per cent.

Source: the Pioneer, Delhi, 22 July, 2010
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