RK Garg defends his new role at Petronet-LNG

Vol 15, PW 2 (28 Jul 11) People & Policy

RK Garg is facing criticism over his appointment as the new director finance at Petronet-LNG because of his perceived lack of a finance background, a charge Garg fiercely denies.

“I handled a finance portfolio at SAIL (Steel Authority of India) from 1979 to 1984 before working there as the company secretary,” 55-year old Garg tells this report, soon after his appointment confirmation on July 20. “I have also been involved in major decisions at Petronet-LNG since I joined as vice-president (finance) and company secretary.

” Born on May 1, 1956, Garg was appointed company secretary in September 2001 and says he played an instrumental role in the company’s long-term LNG purchase deal with Qatar’s RasGas. He says he has been intimately involved with all EPC tenders for the Dahej and Kochi LNG terminals and the Gorgon LNG purchase contract.

“When I first visited Dahej in 2001 it was nothing but barren land,” he recalls. Garg’s appointment has been greeted with scepticism by some of his colleagues.

“Garg’s selection was a mistake,” says one. “His only previous experience is as a company secretary.

How can he suddenly become director finance He has never handled a finance portfolio.” Garg, he adds, won the director finance position only because he was an internal candidate.

“(As company secretary) he looked after ‘statutory compliance’ at Petronet-LNG and had little to do with finance,” we learn. “Even at SAIL he was company secretary.

” Another serious charge is that Garg failed the selection criteria set by the search panel. “Candidates should have held a finance portfolio at a company engaged in the hydrocarbons industry for at least 25 years,” we are told.

“Garg does not have this. He won only because of his proximity to the board.