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In a first-ever, Alka Mittal given additional charge as CMD of ONGC

Alka Mittal, the director of human resources of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), had been given the additional charge of chairman and managing director, the country’s largest petroleum explorer and producer company announced on Monday. 


With this appointment, Ms Mittal has become the first woman ever to head ONGC as its CMD. She will hold the post for six months or until a regular appointment for the position is announced, whichever is earlier. 


ONGC has not had a full-time chairman and managing director since former chief Shashi Shanker retired on March 31, 2021. Typically, the government select a future CMD at least a few months before the retirement of the incumbent, but instead, after Shanker’s retirement, the then senior-most director was given the additional charge. Subhash Kumar, a former director (finance) of ONGC, was given the additional charge of the post from April 1, 2021. Mr Kumar too retired at the end of December, leaving the top position vacant for a couple of days. 


Given that Ms Mittal is currently the senior most on the board of directors, it was speculated that she would be given the CMD’s position but the formal orders came late on January 3. 


The Public Enterprises Selection Board, the head-hunter for PSUs, had received 10 applications for the position. But after interviews in May and June 2021, the company had announced that it was unable to find a suitable candidate and had recommended a search committee. 


A post-graduate in economics, MBA (HRM) and doctorate in commerce and Business Studies, Ms Mittal had joined ONGC as a graduate trainee in 1985. Ms Mittal went on to become the first woman to hold the charge of a full-time director in ONGC’s history. 


Prior to joining as director (HR), Ms Mittal had held the charge of chief skill development (CSD) of the company. In her capacity as CSD in-charge, she had streamlined the activities and brought in uniformity in the working of the skill development centres of ONGC. During this period, she had also implemented the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) in ONGC engaging more than 5,000 apprentices across all work centres. 


Previously, she had worked as Head CSR at the corporate office and taken up major CSR projects across India. Earlier, she had also led the HR-ER functions in various capacities across regions, including Vadodara, Mumbai, Delhi and Jorhat, and she was also the head of corporate communications of ONGC during 2009. 

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