New Delhi has tapped Essar Shipping’s managing director Anoop Kumar Sharma to head the state-run Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), a rare instance where the government has gone to the private sector to appoint a head of a state-run entity.
The post has been vacant for more than a year, with a director, BB Sinha, taking temporary charge for the past 12 months. Sharma has been given a three-year contract. Prior to Essar he had in fact worked for SCI for many years. By taking the SCI top post he is taking a big pay cut, with some local media suggesting an 80% haircut.
A native of Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, the 1960-born Sharma came to Mumbai as a teenager and started at Training Ship T.S. Rajendra. It was inevitable that, upon completion of his training in 1978, he would join the fount of Indian shipping talent, Shipping Corporation of India (SCI).
He remained an SCI man, sailing on the state-owned company’s vessels until late-1992, and then coming ashore on December 14 1992, the day after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, that resulted in enormous political commotion and violence in India. Over the subsequent 16 years, Sharma gained rich and varied shore experience at SCI, moving from one department to another.
He joined Essar in 2008, India’s third largest line, and has held the ceo and managing director posts since April last year.