Senior bureaucrats Avinash Joshi and Niraj Verma are among the 10 candidates who are in the race to become chairman and managing director of India's largest oil and gas producer, ONGC.
Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) director-finance Pomila Jaspal and ONGC director for technology and field services Om Prakash Singh are the other prominent names in fray for the top job, according to a candidate shortlist by the Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB).
PESB - the government headhunter - will hold interviews to select the new head of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) this week.
Both the bureaucrats are from the 1994 batch of IAS officers belonging to the Assam-Meghalaya cadre.
They both are principal secretaries in the government of Assam, according to details available from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) website.
While Joshi, who hails from Gujarat, is 53 years old, Verma is from Bihar and turns 52 next month.
Others on the PESB shortlist are ONGC executive directors Sandeep Gupta, Pankaj Kumar and Omkar Nath Gyani, ONGC additional director general Anand Gupta, Security Printing and Minting Corp of India Ltd director-finance Ajay Agarwal and Container Corporation of India director-finance Manoj Kumar Dubey.
PESB will hold interviews to select a replacement for Shashi Shanker who retired after attaining superannuating age of 60 years at March-end this year.
While a replacement is often selected before the incumbent retires, PESB did not hold any interviews for almost seven months as its chairman wasn't appointed.
The government in April named Mallika Srinivasan, chairman and managing director of Tractors and Farm Equipment (TAFE) Ltd, as the new chairperson of PESB.
She is the first person from the private sector to be appointed as the head of PESB.
After Shanker retired, Subhash Kumar, director for finance and senior most director on ONGC board, was given the additional charge of chairman and managing director.
Kumar, 59, will retire at the end of December 2021.
Other directors on ONGC board either didn't have the mandatory 2-years of tenure left or were barred by the job hopping rule.
While Akla Mittal, director for human resources and Rajesh Kumar Srivastava, director for exploration, retire next year, Anurag Sharma, director for onshore was appointed to the job only in June last year.
Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters