Three independent directors on Indian Oil board

GN Bureau | December 7, 2015



Nearly 18 months after it removed four UPA nominees on board of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the government has appointed three independent directors.

In a regulatory filing, the nation's biggest company by turnover said that with effect from December 2, the government has appointed Mindtree co-founder Subroto Bagchi, Chandigarh-based chartered accountant Sanjay Kapoor and Ahmedabad-based tax advocate Parindu K Bhagat on its board.

The company has seven functional directors, including the chairman, and two government nominee directors. As per Sebi's listing rules, it needs an equal number of independent directors, but so far, it has only three.

After coming to power in May last year, the BJP government has sought removal of all the appointees of the previous UPA government.

Four of them -- K Jairaj, Nesar Ahmad, Sunil Krishna and Sayan Chatterjee -- who were appointed only on March 20, 2014 were removed by not putting up the resolution confirming their appointment before the shareholders.

All appointments to the board, including functional directors, have to be ratified by its shareholders.

Three other independent directors, including former deputy governor of RBI Shyamala Gopinath and former foreign secretary Shyam Saran, were allowed to complete their three-year term as their appointment had already been ratified by the shareholders.

Gopinath and Saran ceased to be directors on the company board "upon completion of their tenure", according to a June 25, 2015, regulatory filing from IOC.

IOC board is currently headed by Chairman B Ashok. It has six functional directors -- Sanjiv Singh (Director Refineries), D Sen (Director Business Development), A K Sharma (Director Finance), Verghese Cherian (Director HR), Anish Aggarwal (Director Pipelines) and B S Canth (Director Marketing).

A P Sawhney and Archana Mathur, senior bureaucrats with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, are government nominee directors on the IOC board.

StoreKing in pact with Indian Oil
Assisted e-commerce platform StoreKing has tied up with IOC to provide services across petrol bunks in Tier-III and rural areas across the country. The partnership will give StoreKing access to 25,000 touch points across the country, of which 7,500 would be in rural locations.

The programme, being piloted in Karnataka, will see the setting up of kiosks at petrol bunks, where customers will be able to order for products online, pay for these and pick up deliveries. StoreKing and IOC plan to set up 250 such centres across the state by March.

“We have signed up with them to place a kiosk at every IOC petrol bunk to support our assisted e-commerce model. These store owners, who customers trust, will become the point of contact for buying, picking up the package and paying for the product,” said Sridhar Gundaiah, chief executive of StoreKing.

StoreKing, which is trying to disrupt the e-commerce model in rural and semi urban areas, shares between five per cent and eight per cent of the margins on each sale with franchise owners. While the tie up will help IOC petrol bunk owners earn additional income, the oil firm is looking at the partnership as a way to improve walk-ins.

“We have been looking at opportunities to get into e-commerce in the rural space because we have a very good network in villages. Rural areas of high importance to us because we want to add value for our customers there,” said P S Mony, deputy general manager and retail head for IOC in Karnataka.

India’s e-commerce market is expected to cross $12 billion in combined gross merchandise value (GMV) across all players by December. That is almost a three-fold growth in sales compared with the previous year with the combined GMV estimate being $4.5 billion.

Using petrol bunks as dark house to aid deliveries is something global e-commerce giant Amazon has already begun experimenting with in India. The company partnered with Bharat Petroleum in June this year to allow in-store picks ups for customers at select locations. This, however, is still skewed towards urban locations.

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