The National Democratic Alliance government on Saturday appointed Essar Shipping managing director Anoop Kumar Sharma to head the state-run Shipping Corporation of India, a move that comes months after it relaxed rules to let the Centre recruit private sector managers to top jobs.
Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari had made up his mind to pick a private sector manager to head the company last year and got Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approval. Gadkari had kept the post vacant for most of this year; it was temporarily assigned to SCI director BB Sinha.
Sharma’s appointment on a three-year tenure comes just a day after SCI announced its net profit for the first quarter of this fiscal had dived 72% to Rs 56 crore as compared to the corresponding period last year.
A policy decision to allow the government to recruit talent from the private sector and state government-run companies was, however, made only in June when the rulebook was fixed. Sharma’s appointment is the first after the rules were changed.
The NDA government had started with the public sector banks last August when it named Rakesh Sharma as the chief executive of Canara Bank and PS Jayakumar to head Bank of Baroda. Rakesh came from private sector Laxmi Vilas Bank while Jayakumar came from VBHC Value Homes.
Like them, Sharma – who had worked with SCI for 16 years – will take a pay cut to join the largest public sector shipping company in India. A back-of-the-envelope calculation indicated the pay cut could be as high as 80%.
At Essar Shipping, Sharma’s annual compensation package totalled Rs 177 lakh in 2015-16, according to the company’s annual report. His monthly basic salary was Rs 5.45 lakh.
If the salary package of heads of other similarly placed public sector firms is any indication, Sharma can expect an annual package of around Rs 36-40 lakh. Sharma can, however, expect a hike in 2017 when recommendations of a pay panel – set up to revise salaries in public sector firms – will come into force.