The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Indian Oil juggles with directors

New Delhi, Sept. 18: In an unprecedented move, the petroleum ministry has shunted out director (marketing) of Indian Oil Corporation from this key post and made him swap jobs with the newly-appointed director of human resources (HR).

Sources disclose that this is the first time in the history of the 40-year-old company, or any public sector oil major for that matter, that a director has been changed in the middle of his term.

P. K. Aggarwal had been appointed director marketing merely a year ago but his performance was found to be not up to the mark. Sources disclose that he has not been keeping good health and it has forced him to stay away from office for long periods. . G. Kannan, who had been appointed director HR on September 1, has replaced Aggarwal as director (marketing).

Aggarwal is viewed as the first “head to roll” in an atmosphere of increasingly fierce competition in the petroleum sector following the dismantling of administered price mechanism.

With companies like Bharat Petroleum launching aggressive marketing campaigns and new oil majors, such as Shell and Reliance poised to enter the retail market, IOC is worried over its market share being eroded.

IOC is the largest commercial enterprise in the country with a turnover of over Rs 100,000 crore. The marketing director’s post is considered the most crucial as it oversees the entire sales and the job involves creation of wealth for the company.

The HR director’s post is considered less crucial as it does not deal directly with the creation of wealth. “Although IOC has the largest number of refineries in the country and a vast pipeline network employing a huge workforce, the HR director’s job is not as demanding as that of the marketing director,” a senior official told The Telegraph.

As Kannan’s experience and expertise lies in the human resource field, he was appointed executive director-HR at the company’s corporate headquarters prior to his current responsibility. However, he also has experience in marketing aviation fuel and has been the general manager (marketing) of the volatile eastern region.

A senior IOC official told The Telegraph that Aggarwal, on the other hand, is a “totally marketing man” and had also served as executive director of the country’s crucial Oil Co-ordination Committee.

Both IOC chairman M. S. Ramachandran and ONGC chairman Subir Raha have served on this post earlier. But when Aggarwal was selected, he was the second best next to Prashanto Bannerjea who preferred to join as chairman-cum-managing director of Gail (India) Ltd. Kannan has the advantage of being younger and physically fitter.

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