Cairn employees want P. Elango as full-time CEO

Vol 16, PW 3 (23 Aug 12) People & Policy

Cairn India’s widely respected director strategy and business services P.

Elango can rely on sturdy support within the company if he applies to become full-time CEO. Fifty-two year old Elango is set to take charge as interim managing director at the end of August, when Rahul Dhir officially steps down, following his resignation on August 8.

Those are big shoes to fill - Dhir has led Cairn India since 2006, seeing it through a stock market launch and a controversial acquisition by UK-based Vedanta Resources. “Elango is undoubtedly the only and best internal candidate to head Cairn India,” says an enthusiastic supporter.

“He has been ‘de facto’ number two at the company and can easily step into Rahul’s shoes.” Consultants McKinsey & Company, adds another source, is helping to hunt for a new full-time CEO.

“I hear McKinsey recommended several senior people since Rahul’s resignation was announced,” we learn. “Cairn’s management has yet to select a candidate.

” Given a choice between Elango and an unknown outsider, Cairn employees say they’d much rather see the company veteran with 16 years experience installed as chief. “Elango has always been CEO material,” we hear.

He has seen Cairn India grow from a measly turnover of only Rs50cr ($10m) when he joined in 1996 to impressive revenues of Rs11,860cr ($2.1bn) last fiscal. Elango is from Chennai and has an MBA from Tamil Nadu’s Annamalai University.

He worked with ONGC for 10 years before coming to Cairn, where he worked as asset manager at the producing Ravva and CB-OS/2 oil and gasfields. “Four years managing Ravva and CB-OS/2 give Elango a sound understanding of the geo-technical aspect of the business,” we hear.

Elango also spent six years as commercial department chief before moving into his role as strategy head.

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