Mazagon Dock headless as submarine tender approaches Ship’s crew

Lobbying by Indian Navy officials and officers has delayed the selection process
new Chairman and Managing Director of Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd. India’s largest defense shipbuilder is gearing up for a prestigious tender to build six diesel-electric submarines with air-independent propulsion (AIP) capability on-site through technical collaboration with a foreign OEM, potentially worth about 45,000 crores.

Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders no longer has a full-time CMD following the resignation of Vice Admiral Narayan Prasad from the Indian Navy (retired) on January 31st this year.

The MoD, which controls Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders, has appointed Sanjeev Singhal, the company’s director (finance), with additional responsibility for CMD.

Typically, the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB), the government’s headhunter, advertises for a director or CMD position in a state-owned enterprise at least eight to 10 months before the position becomes vacant.

However, the PESB has not yet applied for the role of CMD, Mazagn Dock Shipbuilders, although preliminary work for the process began in February 2022.

Some important changes to the job description (JD) regarding educational qualifications and experience criteria for potential candidates have delayed the start of the process to select a new managing director for Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders, multiple sources informed on the matter said.

The Department of Defense proposed “some significant changes” to the job description (JD) for the position when the draft JD was sent for approval, a government source said.

For central government candidates who are not internal company candidates, the Ministry of Defense proposed that a joint secretary or officers of equivalent rank should also be considered for the post, rather than originally providing for only additional secretaries or officers of equivalent rank to be considered can apply for rank.

In addition, the required remaining period of service for external candidates, particularly additional secretaries, vice-admirals, rear-admirals and commodore, should be reduced from three years to two years as a one-off exception, the Ministry of Defense proposed.

The remaining three years of service set by the government for all other external candidates was retained.

In the case of internal candidates, the remaining period of service for applicants is two years in accordance with the SPEB guidelines for selection.

These major job description changes cannot be implemented unilaterally by the PESB and require the approval of the Cabinet Appointments Committee (ACC).

The Department of Defense’s Defense Production Division has sought approval from the ACC for the major changes in the job description, which took time.

Based on this, a JD draft was created and sent to the Department of Defense.

In the meantime, the SPEB has revised the eligibility criteria for the role of CMDs of state-owned companies.

Under the new guidelines, the PESB standardized the eligibility criteria for CMD posts and required re-approval by the ACC.

The new rules included a postgraduate degree as one of the educational qualification criteria, in addition to a degree in engineering, accountancy, cost accounting, or an MBA or PGDM degree.

In terms of experience, those applying for the position should have spent five of the past ten years in finance, business development, manufacturing, operations, marketing and in some cases human resources.

The PESB will advertise the position after receiving approval from the Department of Defense Production of the revised JD draft, which includes key changes to educational qualification and experience criteria.

“The entire measure of allowing joint secretaries or equivalent officers to apply and reducing the remaining term of service to two years for additional secretaries, vice-admirals, rear-admirals and commodore is primarily aimed at facilitating candidates from the Indian Navy,” reads in added to the government source.

Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders, India’s largest defense shipbuilder by order book, and Germany’s Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems GmbH (TKMS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on June 7 to work on the submarine project, named P75 (India) or P75 (I) to offer.

According to the MoU, Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems would provide engineering and design of the submarines, as well as consulting support for the joint project, and Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders would assume responsibility for the construction and delivery of the submarines.

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