Soma Mondal is all set to be the first woman to head the state-owned steel manufacturing company Steel Authority of India (SAIL) based in New Delhi. The Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) panel, however, has yet to confirm her appointment. Currently serving as the director in the same company, Mondal is expecting a possible elevation to the top post.

If promoted, she will be the next chairperson of the country’s largest steelmaker SAIL.


After her significant achievement as the director, Mondal will soon head the steel organisation in India, if approved. She will take over as chairperson of the Maharatna Public sector Undertakings (PSU) from Anil Kumar Chaudhary, who is retiring in December. Chaudhary has been in charge of the company since September 2018. Talking about the challenges she faced as a woman in the male-dominated industry, Mondal said, “I did not feel different anytime. In 2017 when I came to SAIL, people asked me what my challenges were. I told them there are two challenges, the first being my acceptance there and second was the direction of the steel market,” TOI reported.

She also acknowledged that, “Despite the fact that I was a woman in a man’s world. I went to plants, visited all of them, went to the shop floors.”

What You Should Know

  • Soma Mondal is set to become the next Chairperson of steel company SAIL.
  • Mondal will replace Anil Kumar Chaudhary, who is retiring in December.
  • She will become the first woman to head the Delhi-based steel giant.

Mondal has become one of the very few women professionals who have emerged to head public sector companies. In 2013, Nishi Vasudeva became the first woman to head a Navratna PSU when she was named CMD of state-run oil major Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd.

Currently, only two women successors head steel companies in India. Sminu Jindal of Jindal Saw and Rita Singh of Mesco.

“There are many young women engineers and technicians whom one will see working on the shop floor of a steel company”, Aruna Sharma, the former Secretary, Ministry of Steel, Government of India, told Moneycontrol.

Who is Soma Mondal?

Mondal completed her graduation in electrical engineering from NIT Rourkela and joined Aluminium maker Nalco, Bhubaneswar, in 1984. She first worked as a Trainee and was later promoted as Director (Commercial), NALCO. She was also involved in various project implementation activities as a part of the Technology Cell. She joined the SAIL family in 2017.

A champion of women empowerment, Mondal said, “I know my selection goes a long way for the empowerment of women. I worked with passion and as much as any man would have worked.”

Originally from Bhubaneswar, Mondal comes from a middle-class family where her father works as an agricultural economist. He wanted his daughter to become a doctor but she chose to be an engineer. Her husband was an engineer who worked with UTI. He passed away in 2005. She is now survived with three children.

Looking ahead

“Change should come in our efficiency and the driver of the change would be the employees of SAIL,” she hailed.

Her achievements in the Aluminium Industry made a huge impact on her career. In March 2017, she became the first woman director of SAIL.

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Feature Image Credit: PSU Watch

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