By Priti Naik
Scripting history, Alka Mittal became the first woman to head the Oil and Natural Gas Company (ONGC) on January 3. She was earlier the director of human resource at the energy firm and has been now given the additional charge of chairman and managing director of the company. She will hold the post for six months or until a regular appointment for the position is announced, whichever is earlier.
A postgraduate in Economics, MBA (HRM) and Doctorate in Commerce and Business Studies, Mittal joined ONGC as a graduate trainee in 1985. She went on to become the first woman to hold the charge of a full-time director in ONGC’s history.
Since former chief Shashi Shanker who retired on March 31, 2021, ONGC has not had a full-time chairman and managing director at its firm. It is the government who selects the future CMD at least a few months before the retirement of the incumbent, but after Shanker’s retirement, the then senior-most director was given the additional charge. Subhash Kumar, former director (finance) was given the additional charge of the post from April 1, 2021. However, he too retired at the end-December, leaving the top position vacant for a couple of days.
At present, Alka Mittal is the senior most on the board of directors, and it was speculated that she would take the reins of being the next CMD, however, the formal orders came on January 3. The Public Enterprises Selection Board, the head-hunter for PSUs, had received 10 applications for the position. After interviews in May-June 2021, it announced that they were unable to find a suitable candidate and recommended a search committee.
Before joining as director (HR), Mittal held the charge of chief skilled development (CSD) of the company. In her capacity as CSD in-charge, she streamlined the activities and brought in uniformity in the working of the skill development centres of ONGC, stated a note published on her on the company’s official website. She has also implemented the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) in ONGC that engaged more than 5,000 apprentices across all work centres. Previously, she worked as Head CSR at the corporate office and took up major CSR projects across India.
She also led the HR-ER functions in various capacities across regions including Vadodara, Mumbai, Delhi and Jorhat, and was also the head of corporate communications of ONGC during 2009.