What began with scrutinising a list of 900 applicants, took six months to identify the two top executives. Beginning with a newspaper advertisement seeking candidates, the shortlisting process that followed was extremely rigorous.
Finding the right talent for a given role has never been easy, especially when it is for top-management roles; and add to it the fact that the organisation is an amalgamation of both the public and the private sector. Well, the search for the top heads for the National Skill Development Corporation, (NSDC), a one of its kind Public-Private Partnership in India, under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, was one such tricky task.
NSDC recently announced the appointment of Manish Kumar as managing director and CEO, and Jayant Krishna as executive director and chief operating officer (COO).
Kumar (IAS 1991 batch) comes in with a rich experience of over 24 years spread across various roles with national and international institutions including secretary to Government of Tripura – power & home departments, senior water and sanitation specialist, UNICEF and senior institutional development specialist and country coordinator, water & sanitation programme at the World Bank.
Krishna hails from the private sector and has over 29 years of experience. He has worked with TCS and handled various key positions. He has been actively working with India’s skill development sector for over 5 years through Industry fora. He is also the chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)’s committee on skills and education for the Northern region, and serves on its national committee on skill development. He also leads CII’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Reforms.
After NSDC’s former MD and CEO Dilip Chenoy and former COO Atul Bhatnagar, both appointees of the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, resigned last October, the search for new heads began. NSDC roped in PeopleStrong to support its selection process.
What began with scrutinising a list of 900 applicants, took six months to identify the two executives. Beginning with a newspaper advertisement seeking candidates, the shortlisting process that followed was extremely rigorous. The selection committee selected around 40 candidates from whom over 10 were shortlisted to meet a panel of industry leaders. The panel included S. Ramadorai, chairman, NSDC; Rohit Nandan, secretary, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship; Lakshmi Narayanan, vice chairman and ex-CEO of Cognizant.; R V Kanoria, the FICCI representative on the NSDC board; S Mahalingam, former CFO & executive director TCS, and Pankaj Bansal, co-founder and CEO, PeopleStrong.
Bansal from PeopleStrong says, “We ensured each deserving candidate had enough time and opportunity to showcase their abilities. From headhunting to shortlisting 40 candidates from hundreds, to then coming down to 10, and lastly selecting the two has been the most rigorous process ever”.
“The most unique aspects about this search and the decision were the process vigour and the fact that the government and the committee unanimously agreed on the decision”, he added.
Bansal shared a few criteria looked at while shortlisting candidates, which included – capacity to manage large projects, the ability to accomplish P&L responsibilities and their past successes to understand the skills they possess.
The two able leaders, one from the private sector and one from the bureaucratic ranks, are expected to bring about a huge difference in the way the corporation functions, as with the former leadership NSDC had faced allegations for not functioning as expected by the current government.
With the Prime Minister having set clear goals on skilling and providing significant funds, now it is in the hands of the two appointed heads to lead the initiatives in the right direction. This is also why the corporation spent a large amount of time and effort in selecting the two.