Ending weeks of uncertainty, Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy has cleared the appointment of ONGC Videsh Ltd managing director Ranbir Singh Butola as the chairman of Indian Oil Corporation.
Sources said government headhunters Public Enterprise Selection Board had on September 29 last year, named Butola as its most preferred choice to head the nation's largest oil firm.
After clearance of the Central Vigilance Commissioner, Butola's name had been forwarded to the ACC when there was a change of guard at the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas last month.
Sources said the file, which had a recommendation from the former oil minister Murli Deora for Butola's appointment, was returned to the new minister Reddy for ratification.
Reddy, last week concurred with his predecessor's recommendation and Butola's candidature has now gone to the Cabinet Committee on Appointments for formal approval, they said.
Sources said the minister is however yet to give a go ahead to Sudhir Vasudeva, who was choosen by PESB as its No. 1 choice to head state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.
CVC had raised certain questions and oil ministry is yet to reply to them. A K Hazarika is officiating as chairman and managing director of ONGC after R S Sharma retired on January 31.
Butola, 56, the man responsible for giving India a standing in the global oil scene with acquisitions such as Russia-focused Imperial Energy Plc, was the senior most among the candidates who had applied for the post of chairman, IOC.
Born on May 5, 1954, Butola joined ONGC in February 1991 as deputy general manager and was appointed as director (finance) of ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of the state explorer, on November 15, 2002.
He succeeded Atul Chandra as the Managing Director of the company on May 13, 2004.
He holds a Master's in Business Management with specialisation in Finance, and is a certified member of the Indian Institute of Bankers.
Prior to his joining ONGC, Butola worked in a PSU bank and also for the government of India on deputation.
The post of IOC chairman fell vacant after the government declined an extension of service to Sarthak Behuria till his superannuation age of 60 in 2012.
Behuria completed his five-year term on February 28 last year and was eligible for extension till early 2012 but the government refused him the option.
Upon his exit B M Bansal was appointed acting chairman and even he retired from service last month.
Director (finance) S V Narasimhan is officiating since February 1.
Image: Ranbir Singh Butola