In the past 12 months, the power sector has witnessed several new key appointments, especially at the top leadership level. New secretaries have taken charge at the Ministry of Power (MoP), the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the Ministry of Coal (MoC). Furthermore, a new chairman has taken charge at the apex power regulatory body. In another significant development, the first woman chairman and managing director (CMD) has assumed office at Power Finance Corporation Limited (PFC). Management changes have also been seen in major PSUs, including NHPC Limited, Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI), and Coal India Limited (CIL). Private players, including the Suzlon Group, Power Exchange India Limited (PXIL), GE T&D India Limited and Schneider Electric have also announced senior management changes. A look at the key recent appointments in the sector….
Pankaj Agarwal, Secretary, MoP
Pankaj Agarwal assumed charge as power secretary from July 1, 2023, replacing Alok Kumar. He chaired several meetings of the G20 Energy Transitions Working Group. He previously served as additional secretary and director general (acquisition) in the Ministry of Defence.
A 1992 batch IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, Agarwal is a civil engineer from IIT Roorkee.
Bhupinder Singh Bhalla, Secretary, MNRE
Bhupinder Singh Bhalla, a 1990 batch IAS officer of the Uttarakhand cadre, took over as secretary, MNRE, in October 2022, replacing Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi. He has extensive experience as a public administrator. Prior to this appointment, he served as chairman of the New Delhi Municipal Council and as additional chief secretary to the Government of New Delhi. In the recent past, he held the position of additional secretary, Department of Commerce, where he was responsible for India’s trade relations with its neighbouring countries as well as promotion of exports of engineering products worldwide.
Bhalla graduated from the Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi, and has a postgraduate diploma in management from IIM Bangalore and an MBA in finance and consulting from the Terry College of Business, University of Georgia.
Amrit Lal Meena, Secretary, MoC
Amrit Lal Meena, an IAS officer from the 1989 batch of the Bihar cadre, assumed charge as coal secretary in November 2022. He took over from Dr Anil Kumar Jain, who superannuated from service. Prior to this, Meena served as special secretary (logistics) in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade. Furthermore, he held positions such as joint secretary in the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, and additional chief secretary, Government of Bihar.
Meena has a bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering from MNIT, Jaipur.
Jishnu Barua, Chairperson, CERC
Jishnu Barua, a former IAS officer from the 1988 batch of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, assumed office as chairperson, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), on March 2, 2023. Previously, he had served as principal secretary, power, and chairman, Assam Power Distribution Company.
Barua also served in the Government of Assam, in capacities such as managing director (MD) of the Assam Industrial Development Corporation, and commissioner and secretary for personnel, home and political departments. Additionally, he served in the central government as private secretary to the minister of state for commerce, statistics and programme implementation, and later as director (police) in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Barua holds a postgraduate degree in history from St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, and was awarded an MPhil by the University of Madras for his thesis at NDC.
Rajeev Kumar Vishnoi, CMD, NHPC Limited
Rajeev Kumar Vishnoi took over additional charge as CMD, NHPC Limited, in December 2022. He is also serving as the CMD of THDC India Limited (THDCIL). He began his career as an engineer at THDCIL in 1989 and worked in different capacities during his prolific career and eventually became its CMD in 2021.
He is president of the Indian Committee of International Commission of Large Dams (INCOLD) and also represents India on the Seismic Technical Committee of INCOLD. He has contributed significantly as a member of the World Bank Expert Group to deliberate on and constitute contract guidelines during various interactions at the World Bank headquarters.
A civil engineering graduate from BITS Pilani, Vishoi has an MBA and has completed a professional upgradation programme in Design and Construction of Hydraulic Structures and Hydropower Constructions from the State University of Moscow, Russia.
R.P. Gupta, CMD, SECI
R.P. Gupta, a retired 1987 batch IAS officer of the Gujarat cadre, took over as CMD of SECI in June 2023. Prior to this, he served in the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change as secretary, Government of India. He earlier also worked with NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Coal. His areas of expertise are energy, environment, climate change, decarbonisation strategies, carbon market and trading, sustainability, resource efficiency and material recycling, forest and wildlife.
Gupta is a graduate in aerospace engineering from IIT, Kanpur.
Parminder Chopra, CMD, PFC
Parminder Chopra took charge as CMD of PFC on August 14, 2023, the first woman to assume this position at PFC. Earlier, she held additional charge as CMD and also served as PFC’s director (finance). During her term as director (finance), she spearheaded the finance division, contributing to its highest net profit, highest net worth and lowest non-performance asset levels. This robust financial performance facilitated PFC in achieving the highest status of “Maharatna”.
Chopra has over 35 years of experience in the power and finance sectors. She has worked with power sector majors such as NHPC Limited and Power Grid Corporation of India Limited.
A commerce graduate from the University of Delhi, Chopra is a qualified cost and management accountant and also has a postgraduate diploma in business management. Among various other accolades, Chopra was honoured with the Icon of the Year award in 2023 by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India.
P.M. Prasad, CMD, CIL
In July 2023, P.M. Prasad assumed charge as CMD of CIL. Prior to this, he served as CMD of Central Coalfields Limited. He has close to four decades of experience across operations and management in the mining sector.
Prasad holds a degree in mining engineering from Osmania University, Hyderabad, and a postgraduate degree in opencast mining from IIT (ISM), Dhanbad. He received a first-class mines manager certificate from the director general of mine safety and a law degree from Nagpur University. Among various other accolades, he was awarded the “Best Mines Manager” by the secretary of coal, MoC, and chairman, CIL in 1995.
Vishal Kapoor, CEO, EESL and CESL
Vishal Kapoor took charge as chief operating officer (CEO) of Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) in November 2022. He also has additional charge as CEO of Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL), EESL’s wholly owned subsidiary responsible for managing the business portfolios of electric mobility, carbon financing and battery energy storage.
Prior to this, he served as joint secretary at the MoP, overseeing the distribution segment. He has played a pivotal role in designing the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme that is aimed at enhancing the operational and financial performance of distribution utilities. He brings a wealth of experience from his tenure with Indian Railways, especially in the field of railway traction and freight cars, in design, operations and maintenance.
Kapoor has an engineering degree from the Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Jamalpur. He is an active fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the UK. He also has a postgraduate degree in public administration from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and has completed an advanced management programme in public policy from the Indian School of Business.
Prasanna Kumar Motupalli, CMD, NLC India Limited
Prasanna Kumar Motupalli assumed charge as CMD of NLC India Limited in January 2023. Prior to this, he served as MD of Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited, the generation arm of state-owned Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited.
Kumar has 34 years of experience in the power and coal sectors. He began his career as an executive trainee with NTPC Limited in 1988.
A gold medallist in mechanical engineering from Acharya Nagarjuna University, Kumar also has an MBA in operations, marketing, finance and human resource management. He topped the Bureau of Energy Efficiency’s energy auditor examination and holds a Level D certification from the International Project Management Association. Kumar is a fellow of The Institute of Engineers and has presented and published over 50 papers on the power and coal sectors, as well as several technical and management papers at various conferences.
M. Raghu Ram, Chairman, DVC
Raghu Ram assumed additional charge as chairman of the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) in September 2023. He will continue to hold charge as member (technical), a post to which he was appointed in January 2021. Prior to joining DVC, he was general manager (O&M) at the NTPC Korba Super Thermal Power Station, where he was head of O&M.
Ram has a rich experience of 33 years in thermal power station operations, project construction monitoring, technical audits, gap analysis and plant equipment/system performance testing.
Ram has a BTech in mechanical en-gineering from the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University College of Engineering, Hyderabad, and an MTech (thermal) degree from IIT Delhi.
J.P. Chalasani, Group CEO, Suzlon Energy Limited
In April 2023, J.P. Chalasani took over as group CEO at Suzlon Energy Limited. Over his extensive four-decade career, he has led business operations across the power sector value chain, from generation to retail power distribution. In the past, he has worked across both the public and private sectors, including NTPC, Reliance Power Limited, Punj Lloyd Limited, and Suzlon.
Chalasani had earlier served as group CEO of Suzlon, from April 2016 to July 2020. Following this tenure, he continued to contribute his expertise as a strategic adviser to the Suzlon Group. Prior to his role at Suzlon, Chalasani served as group CEO and MD at Punj Lloyd and before that had a successful 18-year stint with the Reliance Group. He also served as inaugural CEO and director on the board of BSES Rajdhani Power Limited and BSES Yamuna Power Limited. Chalasani began his career at NTPC, where he worked for 15 years in various capacities.
Chalasani has a degree in mechanical engineering and is widely recognised for his exceptional leadership skills.
Satyajit Ganguly, MD and CEO, PXIL
Satyajit Ganguly joined PXIL as MD and CEO in June 2023. Prior to this, he was MD at North East Transmission Company Limited since 2018. During a career spanning over 36 years, Ganguly has worked in various key positions with organisations such as NTPC Limited, Western Regional Electricity Board, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, Lanco Power Limited, the Vedanta Group, and ONGC Tripura Power Company Limited.
Ganguly has domain expertise in grid management, power plant operations, power exchange operations, power trading, policy and regulatory advocacy, compliance, business development and business expansion.
Ganguly is an electrical engineer with a postgraduate diploma in business management and a degree in law. He is a chartered engineer and a fellow of the Institution of Engineers (India) (IEI) and was felicitated as “Eminent Engineering Personality of the Year” by IEI in 2018.
Sunil Gupta, CEO, Azure Power
Sunil Gupta joined Azure Power as CEO in July 2023. Prior to Azure, he was head, Southeast Asia and South Asia Business, at Vena Energy, managing the company’s existing businesses and developing new projects.
Earlier, Gupta was group head of the renewable energy business at Sembcorp Industries, Singapore, where he built the company’s renewables business and spearheaded market entry efforts in India, Australia, Singapore and Vietnam. In India, he was instrumental in managing a business comprising multiple utility-scale wind and solar power generation plants across seven states. Prior to Sembcorp, he was a cleantech industry professional with Standard Chartered Bank and Morgan Stanley.
Gupta has a BTech from IIT Delhi and holds an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad.
Sandeep Zanzaria, CEO and MD, GE T&D India Limited
Sandeep Zanzaria took over as MD and CEO of GE T&D India Limited in April 2023, succeeding Pitamber Shivnani.
He brings with him over three decades of experience in the power sector. He joined GE in 2017 as regional commercial leader for GE Grid Solutions, South Asia. Prior to joining GE, he was vice-president (head of project business) at Schneider Electric in South Asia. He also worked in various other organisations such as Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Areva T&D India Limited, Alstom T&D India Limited, and Schneider Electric.
Zanzaria graduated from the Maulana Azad College of Technology (now named National Institute of Technology), Bhopal.
Deepak Sharma, Zone President, Greater India, and MD and CEO, SEIPL
Deepak Sharma was appointed zone president for the Greater India region and MD and CEO, Schneider Electric India Private Limited (SEIPL), effective May 1, 2023, taking over from Anil Chaudhry.
In three decades of experience, Sharma has worked for about 24 years at Schneider Electric, holding diverse roles in energy management and industrial automation across India, France, China, and the US. In his previous role as senior vice-president, mergers and acquisitions, Sharma led the integration of Larsen & Toubro Electrical and Automation business with Schneider Electric.
Sharma has graduate and postgraduate degrees and diplomas in management and electrical engineering. He has also completed executive education programmes at IIM Ahmedabad, INSEAD France and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, USA.
Sachin Jain, CEO, Cleantech Solar
In June 2023, the Cleantech Solar Group appointed Sachin Jain as CEO. He takes over from founder Raju Shukla, who has been serving as CEO.
Gupta has over two decades of diverse experience in consulting, entrepreneurship and business leadership, including over 13 years in the renewable energy sector. He previously served as head of Clean Energy for India and as the global co-lead for Solar Energy, Boston Consulting Group. He also co-founded and served as CEO at Oriano Clean Energy and as head of strategy at Mahindra’s renewable energy IPP platform (Susten).
Gupta has an MBA from the University of Cambridge, UK, where he was a Tata Scholar. He also holds an MS degree from Ohio University, USA, and a BE from the University of Mumbai.