Challenge for Sircar as new Gujarat Gas MD

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

Three days from now Sugata Sircar takes over as the new MD of Gujarat Gas in Ahmedabad.

As the company’s finance director, 49-year-old Sircar will need more than money and accounting skills to steer India’s biggest private CGD player. “He takes over during a turbulent phase,” says an insider, “just as BG sells its stake.

” Many will be eagerly watching how Sircar handles ongoing talks on BG’s sale of its 65.12% stake. Well-known in the finance world, Sircar is an unknown quantity in CGD circles, explaining why outgoing MD Shaleen Sharma is busy introducing him to all stakeholders, from officials in Gandhinagar to staff at Ankleshwar, Bharuch and Surat, where Gujarat Gas supplies 3.3m m cm/d.

“Sircar is sharp and a quick learner,” we hear. “He will slip easily into Sharma’s shoes.

” Sircar has worked closely with Sharma particularly with LNG sourcing after domestic supplies from PMT began to decline. “He’s a competent accountant,” adds a source, “but as managing director he needs a more holistic vision.

” Sircar’s first priority will be to forge relationships across industry, the oil ministry and crucially, the PNGRB. “Fortunately,” says a supporter, “Shaleen will always be there to help him.

” Company insiders describe Sircar as “warm and open” and good with numbers. “He loves number-crunching,” says a source.

“Even at parties he always uses numbers to make his point!” Will this be enough to quell growing disillusionment among Gujarat Gas’s industrial customers In the past nine months sales have dropped from a high of 3.5m cm/d to 3.3m cm/d as more and more factories in Surat - unhappy at the high cost of gas - switch to coal.