Pramod Agarwal to succeed Coal India chairman AK Jha
Pramod Agarwal will take over after the present chairman A K Jha retires in January 2020
Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) has selected Pramod Agarwal, a 1991 batch IAS from Madhya Pradesh cadre, as the next chairman of Coal India. He will take over after the present chairman AK Jha retires in January 2020. Agarwal is currently principal secretary for urban development and housing department in Madhya Pradesh.
Coal India has had two IAS officers as its chairman in entire history. The first being, S Narsing Rao, who took over in April 2012. He was succeeded by Sutirtha Bhattacharya, also an IAS officer, who retired in August 2017. The company also has a history of being run by government and defence officials. Its first chairman was Lieutenant General KS Garewal while there has been numerous chairman from public sector companies in the past.
According to the selection criteria external candidates were to have three years of residual service while internal candidates needed to have two years of service left. The present chairman, Anil Kumar Jha, took over in May 2018, eight months after his predecessor, Bhattacharya, retired in August 2017. For the interim eight months, Coal India was steered by government officials and a chairman of a subsidiary company holding additional posts as the company’s chairman.
This time the centre wanted to select Jha’s successor well in advance so that Coal India does not have to run headless at a time when the company is pursing a target of producing one billion tonnes by 2025-26. The future of the company is also facing uncertainty as coal as a fuel is losing popularity globally. PESB had shortlisted five candidates including two IAS officers, two Coal India executives and a managing director of an engineering PSU for the post.
Candidates in the race were Jyoti Kalash a 1990 batch IAS officer from Nagaland cadre. His seniority is that of an additional chief secretary and he is currently the resident commissioner for Nagaland in New Delhi. Executives shortlisted by PESB from Coal India are Binoy Dayal, director technical at Coal India and PS Mishra, chairman and managing director at Coal India subsidiary, Eastern Coalfields.
Atul Bhatt, chairman and managing director, at Mecon, a public sector consultancy and EPC project firm under steel ministry is learnt to be in the race too. Bhatt is an IITian chemical engineer and a post graduate from IIM, Calcutta. Prior to joining Mecon he was executive director in NMDC.