Traditionally, Oil industry has been more or less a male dominated sector. But, soon the prevailing cult will be smashed by a woman, who is as able as her counterparts. Nishi Vasudeva is set to become the first woman to head an oil company as she takes over the administration of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

Nishi will be the marketing director of the company and will succeed Subir Roychoudhury, who will retire on February 28. The Public Enterprises Selection Board chose Vasudeva from among seven candidates, who were in the race to become HPCL chief.

She is popularly known as the ‘cool’ boss among her colleagues and is one of the most soft-spoken directors of HPCL. On the verge to empower women in the Indian public sector companies, Vasudeva, 57, is set to be inducted in the auspicious league of women chiefs in India, which includes powerful entrepreneurs such as Chanda Kochhar of ICICI Bank, Shikha Sharma of Axis Bank, Naina Lal Kidwai of HSBC India, Vinita Bali of Britannia Industries and Kalpana Morparia of JPMorgan India.

The PES Board recommended Vasudeva to the post of the chairman and managing director, following an interview process in which she knocked off six others rivals in the race which included P K Joshi, Director (human resources) of HPCL; M S Rana, CMD of Security Printing and Minting Corp of India; Gopal Singh, CMD of Central Coalfields Ltd; R S Rao, Director-Finance of HPCL; Bipin Behari, Ministry of Environment and Forests and Omkar Rai‚ Director General of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI).

Graduated from IIM-Kolkata, Nishi began her career with state engineering consultancy firm Engineers India Ltd. She has an experience of more than 34 years  in the industry. In 2007, she became the first woman to be inducted into the board of an Indian oil company. Before being nominated as the marketing director, Vasudeva looked after the company’s cooking gas sales and headed Bhagyanagar Gas Ltd, the joint venture with GAIL for providing CNG service in Andhra Pradesh. She has also given her contribution in forming corporate strategy and planning the information system.

Oil minister M Veerappa Moily has given his approval over her name, which will be sent for clearances to the Chief Vigilance Commission and the Central Bureau of Investigation. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet will then clarify her appointment. The completion of the entire process is expected to take several months.