Top dollar salaries for 'Seven Samurai' at GSPC

Vol 15, PW 17 (08 Mar 12) People & Policy

And the winner is – Alan Brambaugh! GSPC’s highest paid employee is a 64-year old expatriate drilling engineer with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, who has no intention of retiring, just yet.

Who can blame him Brambaugh joined GSPC in 2006 from Transocean and is earning an impressive $1750/day (Rs86,000) at the state-owned company. Better still, Brambaugh gets paid in US dollars, unlike GSPC’s Indian employees, who must be content with payment in the form of the weakening rupee.

Daniel Barrow, a 42 year-old ‘well-testing’ engineer who has received $1500/day since joining the company in March 2011, also gets paid in US currency. “Barrow’s CV simply states a background in ‘mechanical studies’”, says a company source.

GSPC, he adds, informally refers to its seven highest paid employees as the ‘Seven Samurai’. Besides Brambaugh and Barrow, the other five are of Indian origin.

Interestingly, none of these top earners is on GSPC’s permanent payroll. All are on ‘fixed-term’ renewable contracts.

“Top salaries attract top talent,” GSPC tells us. “Three of our top earners came from state-owned ONGC.

” Among them is, former ONGC employee Rakesh Johri, 57, earning Rs680,000/month ($14,000) as senior executive vice president (drilling). He’s a mechanical engineer by training who joined GSPC on December 19, 2009 on a five-year contract.

58-year old Alok Chaudhuri is another former ONGC veteran who found greener pastures at GSPC. Chaudhuri joined on March 15, 2010 as senior executive vice president (engineering and construction) on a monthly salary of Rs650,000 ($13,000) on a five-year contract.

GSPC’s executive vice-president Vijay Vir Singh, 58, is also on a five-year contract, which began on February 8, 2010. He gets Rs575,000/month ($11,800) and is based at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh.