Changes at the Top: Key appointments in the power sector

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.