Vasudeva receives 789 texts from well wishers

Vol 15, PW 7 (06 Oct 11) People & Policy

After nine months of rumour, innuendo, intrigue, and a heavy dose of unsubstantiated allegations, the announcement, when it came, was short, and to the point.

“Dear all,” said an e-mail from (Mrs) Narayani Mahil, ONGC’s chief of corporate communications, to journalists at 9.31pm on the evening of (Monday) October 3, “Mr. Sudhir Vasudeva has assumed charge as CMD of ONGC today.

He will be addressing the media at 11.30am on (Tuesday) October 4. You are cordially invited.

” By 11.45am on the stipulated day, around a dozen journalists gathered on the 6th floor of ONGC’s Jeevan Bharati HQ in Delhi began voicing impatience at Vasudeva’s non-appearance. ONGC staffers explained the new CMD was in his office since 8am that morning, inundated with people and flowers.

He would reach in good time, they said. On cue at 11.55am, a stream of directors started trickling in, beginning with director exploration SV Rao, followed by director human resources KS Jamestin, and finally, by the man Vasudeva is replacing: director onshore and former interim chairman AK Hazarika.

A smiling Vasudeva eventually walked in at noon alongside newly appointed OVL managing director DK Sarraf and shook hands with all around before settling down in his seat. During tea and biscuits with journalists after a short speech, Vasudeva displayed his cell phone to reveal 789 unread text messages from well wishers since news broke of his official endorsement at 7pm the previous evening.

Anxious aides spent the next few minutes fretting about how to reply to all the texts in one go to save their boss’s precious time! For his part Vasudeva insisted he would read and reply to each one individually. If unread text messages are an indication of popularity, the new ONGC chairman clearly scores a first.