Shrikant Madhav Vaidya has been appointed to drive India’s largest state-run oil refiner and fuel retailer, Indian Oil.
The Cabinet’s appointments panel on Tuesday cleared Vaidya, currently director (refineries) in the company, as the next chairman. He will succeed Sanjiv Singh, who demits office on June 30, sources said.
A chemical engineer from the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, Vaidya has 33 years of experience in refining and petrochemical operations. He steered the rollout of BS-VI grade auto fuels ahead of time in the NCR and introduced projects to expand greener options with biofuel and ethanol-blended fuels in refineries.
Government head-hunter PESB had on December 12 recommended Vaidya, as the next chairman of the company after interviewing three other directors — Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra, SSV Ramkumar, Sandeep Kumar Gupta — and Rahul Bharadwaj, who is an executive director.
Vaidya will be the second refinery expert to head the company after Singh, who was director (refineries) before being elevated to his present post. Vaidya had joined the IOC board in October as director (refineries) and will superannuate in August 2023.
As chairman Vaidya’s immediate priority will be to ensure continuity in supplies and operations amid muted demand expected ahead. He will also have to prepare IOC for disruptions in the traditional fuel market due to changing market dynamics. Vaidya will also have to nurture the next generation of human resources and orient them towards the fast-changing realities on the ground.
While doing all this, he will also have to defend IOC’s pole position against challenges from innovative business models new entrants are expected to introduce and cut-throat competition after the privatization of BPCL — without compromising on its social obligations as one of the government’s key public interface.
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