The union coal ministry has appointed the current chairman of Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL), Gopal Singh as the interim chairman of the world's largest coal miner Coal India, after it failed to select a whole time candidate to head the Maharatna Company.
Sources said, the ministry has communicated to the company - a day after Sutirtha Bhattacharya, the immediate past chairman retired on August 31 - that Gopal Singh will be given the additional charge of chairman of Coal India apart from his regular duty to head CCL.
"Singh will continue to head Coal India until a regular full time chairman is appointed", a senior company executive said.
Interestingly, Singh had applied for the top job in April this year sending his resume to the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB). However, the PESB, rejected Singh along with five other applicants stating that it hasn't found any applicants suitable for the post. Business Standard was the first to report about Singh's application.
"His application was rejected by the PESB as it found him not suitable to head the company. However, he now has been given the interim charge", a company official wondered.
Namely a person from the technical field, Singh took charge as chairman and managing director of CCL on March 2012. Graduating from the Indian School of Mines in 1981 and thereafter obtaining degrees in opencast mining and an MBA in human resources management, Singh had shouldered various responsibilities including Director Technical (Project & Planning) at South Eastern Coalfields Ltd, Chief General Manager at the same subsidiary and under other portfolios in CCL.
Amid peers, Singh is credited to have been instrumental in achieving highest production level of 112 million tonne with a record gross profit of Rs 3,777 crore in 2010-11 in SECL which led to this Coal India subsidiary being granted a Mini Ratna Category-I status.
Until August 31, top company officials were unaware of these developments as they had no information of what the coal ministry was thinking.
Senior Coal India officials met the coal ministry for a review meeting in end-August and were expecting the ministry to end the suspense. However, no names were declared on who will be heading the monolith.
The trade unions, which are currently negotiating to sign the wage revision agreement, were also in the dark about the future top boss of the company.