Meeting demand for greater corporate autonomy

Our Bureau

According to the Ministry officials, the changes have been brought in to enable the companies to comply with legal provisions.

New Delhi, March 1

In response to the demand of the public sector oil companies for greater corporate autonomy, the Petroleum Ministry has restricted the number of Government directors on boards of these companies to just two.

The changes made recently strive to remove some of the controversies that had clouded the former Petroleum Minister, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar's term.

According to the Ministry officials, the changes have been brought in to enable the companies to comply with legal provisions. The decision is in line with articles of association of various companies and Clause 49 of the Listing Agreement worked out by the SEBI, which states that a company's board should comprise 50 per cent independent directors in case of an Executive Chairman, sources said.

An order to this effect was issued by the Petroleum Secretary, Mr M.S. Srinivasan, recently.

Now, the two Government nominees on the board of ONGC Videsh Ltd would be the Additional Secretary (International Co-operation), Mr Talmiz Ahmed, and the Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Mr Arvind Mayaram.

Mr Ahmed would no longer be on the boards of Engineers India Ltd and Balmer Lawrie and Co Ltd.

He has been replaced by Mr Ravi Capoor in EIL and Mr Maninder Singh in Balmer Lawrie.

The newly appointed Additional Secretary in the Ministry, Mr Anil Razdan, has nominated to the boards of three companies.

He replaces the Petroleum Secretary in ONGC, Joint Secretary, Mr P.K. Sinha in GAIL (India) Ltd, and Joint Secretary Mr Prabh Das in IOC.

Meanwhile, Mr P.K. Sinha has replaced Joint Advisor Mr C.B. Singh in HPCL, and Economic Advisor Ms Aditi Ray in BPCL.

Ms Ray has now been nominated to the board of Numaligarh Refineries Ltd with Mr Swami Singh, who will also be on the board of Kochi Refineries Ltd.

Mr Prabh Das has been appointed to the board of MRPL, replacing Mr V.P. Joy, who along with Mr Maninder Singh has been appointed to the board of Bongaigaon Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd.

The Directors in the Ministry, Mr A.K. Jain and Mr Pramod Nangia, have been appointed to the board of IBP. Mr Nangia replaces Joint Secretary Mr Ajay Tyagi.

In case of CPCL, Mr Ravi Capoor and Mr Pramod Nangia will be the two Government nominees.

The Oil Industry Development Board Secretary, Mr Sam Bob, has been replaced by Joint Adviser (Finance) Mr C.B. Singh in Biecco Lawrie & Co Ltd.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 2, 2006)
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