Sashi Shanker wins prized ONGC director post

Vol 15, PW 25 (28 Jun 12) People & Policy

Offshore drillers are welcoming the surprise and unexpected selection of Sashi Shanker as ONGC’s new director technical and field services.

“It is good for ONGC,” says one driller. “Shanker was the most technically knowledgeable candidate to appear for interview.

” Currently a general manager in Mumbai, 51-year old Shanker leapt ahead of 10 other candidates to win the coveted role after PESB interviews on June 18. Remarkably, he won the director post against his own boss, ONGC deepwater drilling head AK Mishra.

Backed by ONGC chairman Sudhir Vasudeva, group general manager Avinash Chandra was tipped to replace UN Bose who retires on November 30. But Vasudeva apparently distanced himself from Chandra after whispers of alleged impropriety reached the ears of the PESB selection panel.

In his new role as director technical and field services Shanker will oversee the award of high value offshore contracts. But when contacted he was short on detail.

“I need more time,” said Shankar. Born on March 2, 1961, Shanker is quiet and reserved - a trait some mistake with over-confidence.

“He keeps to himself,” we hear. “He doesn’t open up to everyone.

” Many believe Shankar has a bright future at ONGC: with nine years before retirement he could easily become chairman, say some. “I was handpicked to join the deepwater drilling division by my seniors when the Sagar Samridhi (deepwater drilling) campaign was announced (in 2003 when the division was first set up),” recalls Shankar, who has a petroleum engineering degree from the prestigious Indian School of Mines at Dhanbad, formerly in Bihar but today in the newly created state of Jharkhand.

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