As Sutirtha Bhattacharya, chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) of Coal India, heads towards retirement this month, the face of the company is yet to be finalised. Government head hunter, Public Enterprise and Selection Board (PSEB), responsible for the applications and interviews, invited entries from candidates for the top job in June and was not able to find any suitable candidate for the post. “The board did not find any candidate suitable for the post and recommended that the government may choose an appropriate course of action for selection”, stated the official document, dated 16 June 2017. The top contenders who appeared for the post from Coal India group companies were Gopal Singh, CMD, Central Coalfields; R R Mishra, CMD, West Coalfields; A K Jha, CMD, Mahanadi Coalfields; S Saran, CMD, Central Mine Planning and Design Institute; K Biswal, Director Finance, NTPC and T R Rao, Director Commercial at NMDC. Among the candidates, all are non-IAS personnel and belong to the technical field except.
Coal India executives told ET that unless there’s a last-minute appointment for the top job, the government may give temporary charge to a bureaucrat or extend the current chairman’s tenure until a successor is found. There is also a possibility of the current CMD’s tenure extension. “It is for the first time that PESB has not been able to finalise a candidate following an interview and has left it to the government to take a new course of action”, added executive.